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Title: The Moral Economy
Author: Perry, Ralph Barton, 1876-1957
Language: English
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   Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers enclosed in
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Assistant Professor of Philosophy in Harvard University

Author of

  The Free Man and the Soldier
  The Moral Economy
  The Approach to Philosophy

Charles Scribner's Sons
New York -- Chicago -- Boston -- Atlanta
San Francisco -- Dallas

Copyright, 1909, by
Charles Scribner's Sons
All rights reserved. No part of this book
may be reproduced in any form without
the permission of Charles Scribner's Sons


MARCH 30, 1909

  "Things and actions are what they are, and the
  consequences of them will be what they will be;
  why then should we desire to be deceived?"




This little book is the preliminary sketch of a system of ethics.  Its
form differs from that of most contemporary books on the subject
because of the omission of the traditional controversies.  I have
attempted to study morality directly, to derive its conceptions and
laws from an analysis of life.  I have made this attempt because, in
the first place, I believe that theoretical ethics is seriously
embarrassed by its present emphasis on the history and criticism of
doctrines; by its failure to resort to experience, where without more
ado it may solve its problems on their merits.  But, in the second
place, I hope that by appealing to experience and neglecting scholastic
technicalities, I may connect ethical theory with every-day reflection
on practical matters.  Morality is, without doubt, the most human and
urgent of all topics of study; and I should like, if possible, to make
it appear so.

The references which I have embodied in the notes are intended to serve
the English reader as an introduction to accessible and untechnical
literature on the subjects treated in the several chapters.  These
chapters coincide with the main divisions of ethical inquiry: Goodness,
Duty, Virtue, Progress, Culture, and Religion.  And although so brief a
treatment of so large a programme is impossible without sacrifice of
thoroughness, it does provide both a general survey of the field, and a
varied application of certain fundamental ideas.

  CAMBRIDGE, 1909.



MORALITY AS THE ORGANIZATION OF LIFE . . . . . . . . . . . .    1

I. THE GENERAL CLAIMS OF MORALITY  . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1

  The practical necessity of morality, 1.  The interplay
  of dogmatism and scepticism, 4.  The fundamental
  character of morality, 7.

II. GOODNESS IN GENERAL  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    9

  The dependence of value on life, 9.  Definition of the
  simpler terms of value.  Goodness: the fulfilment of
  interest, 11.  "Good" and "good for," 12.

III. MORAL GOODNESS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   13

  The moral organization of life, 13.  Definition of the
  terms of moral value.  Moral goodness: the fulfilment of
  an economy of interests, 15.  Moral goodness and
  pleasure, 16.  Rightness or virtue, 18.  Morality and
  life, 19.

IV. MORALITY AND NATURE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   20

  The alleged artificiality of morality, 20.  Morality
  and the struggle for existence, 21.  Morality and
  adaptation, 22.  Morality is natural if life is, 24.

V. MORALITY AND CONFLICT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   24

  Morality and competitive struggle.  Morality the
  condition of strength, 24.  The value of conflict, 23.
  The elimination of conflict, 26.  Morality and the love
  of life, 27.

VI. THE DIGNITY AND LUSTRE OF MORALITY . . . . . . . . . . .   28

  The effect of war on sentiment and the imagination, 28.
  Real power is constructive, not destructive or
  repressive, 29.  Moral heroism, 31.  The saving or
  provident character of morality, 32.  Morality and the
  consummation of life, 33.


THE LOGIC OF THE MORAL APPEAL  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   34


  Modern individualism, 34.  Distinguished from
  scepticism, 36. The individual as the organ of knowledge,
  37.  Moral individualism as a protest against convention,
  39.  Duty as the rational ground of action, 40.
  Reasonableness a condition of the consciousness of
  duty, 41.

II. THE LOGIC OF PRUDENCE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   43

  Prudence as elementary, 43.  Interest, action, and
  goodness, 43.  The alleged relativity of goodness, 43.
  The conflict of interests solved by conciliation, 48.
  The limits of prudence, 49.


  The adoption of new interests and the problem of
  preference, 50.  A hypothetical solution of the problem, 51.
  Solution in the concrete case through the organization
  of a purpose, 53.  The principle of the objective validity
  of interests, 54.  The principle of the quantitative basis
  of preference, 55.


  The private interest, 57.  The personal factor negligible
  in counting interests, 58.  The refutation of egoism.
  The first proposition of egoism, 59.  The second
  proposition of egoism, 61.  Impartiality as a part of
  justice, 63.  Justice as imputing finality to the
  individual, 64.  The equality of rational beings as organs
  of truth, 64.  Summary of justice, 66.

V. THE LOGIC OF GOOD-WILL  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   67

  All interests are entitled to consideration, 67.
  Goodwill and the growth of new interests, 67.

VI. DUTY AND THE IMAGINATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   69

  The logical imagination, 69.  Rationalism and incentive
  to action, 70.  Rationalism and faith, 71.


THE ORDER OF VIRTUE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   72


  Summary of the content and logic of moral value, 72.
  Virtues as verified rules of life, 73.  The material and
  formal aspects of morality, 74.  Materialism and
  formalism due to exaggeration, 75.  The general importance
  of the conflict between the material and formal
  motives, 76.  Duty identified with the formal motive, 76.
  Formalism less severely condemned, 77.  The five
  economies of interest, 77.  Summary of virtues and
  vices, 79.  Table, 81.

II. THE ECONOMY OF THE SIMPLE INTEREST . . . . . . . . . . .   82

  The simple interest not a moral economy, 82.  Satisfaction
  the root-value, and intelligence the elementary
  virtue, 82.  Incapacity, 83.  Overindulgence the first
  form of materialism, 84.  It is due to lack of foresight,
  85.  Or to the complexity of interests, 86.  Overindulgence
  as the original sin, 86.

III. THE RECIPROCITY OF INTERESTS  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   87

  Prudence as a principle of organization, 87.  Moderation
  and thrift, 87.  Honesty, veracity, and tact of the
  prudential form, 88.  The inherent value of the prudential
  economy.  Individual and social health, 88.  Temperance
  and reason, 90.  Prudential formalism, or asceticism, 92.
  Asceticism illustrated by the Cynics, 92.  Prudential
  materialism or sordidness, 94.  Aimlessness or idleness, 94.

IV. THE INCORPORATION OF INTERESTS . . . . . . . . . . . . .   95

  Purpose as a principle of organization.  Its
  intellectual character, 95.  The virtues subsidiary to
  purpose, 95.  Truthfulness in the purposive economy, 96.
  The value of achievement, 97.  The formalistic error
  of sentimentalism, 98.  Deferred living, 98.  Nationalism,
  99.  Egoism and bigotry as types of materialism.
  The pride of opinion, 100.  Egoism and bigotry involve
  injustice, 103.  The meaning of injustice, 103.

V. THE FRATERNITY OF INTERESTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  105

  Justice as a principle of organization, 105.  Justice
  conditions rational intercourse, 105.  Discussion, freedom,
  and tolerance, 106.   Anarchism and scepticism, 107.
  _Laissez-faire_, 108.  Justice and materialism.
  Worldliness, 110.  Ancient worldliness due to lack of
  pity, 110.  Modern worldliness due to lack of
  imagination, 111.

VI. THE UNIVERSAL SYSTEM OF INTERESTS  . . . . . . . . . . .  112

  The economy of good-will, 112.  Good-will as the
  condition of real happiness.  Paganism and Christianity,
  113.  Merely formal good-will is mysticism, 116.
  Mysticism perverts life by denying this world, 118.
  Quietism, 119.  Mystical perversion of moral truth, 120.

VII. SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  121

  The interworking of the formal and the material
  principles, 121.  Importance of the formal principle.
  Manners and worship, 121.


THE MORAL TEST OF PROGRESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  123

I. THE GENERAL THEORY OF PROGRESS  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  123

  The philosophy of history, 123.  The meaning of
  progress, 125.  Progress and the Quantitative basis of
  preference, 127.  The method of superimposition as a test
  of progress, 127.



  The external principle: the pressure of an unfavorable
  environment, 130.  The external and the internal
  principle, 131.  The internally progressive type of society.
  The importance of discussion, 132.  Rationality the
  internal principle of progress, 134.  The positive
  motive: constructive reform, 134.  Disinterested reflection
  and the man of affairs, 136.  Success depends on moral
  capacity, 137.  The negative motive: revolution, 139.
  Christianity as a social revolution, 140.  The French
  Revolution, 141.  Dependence of progress on the
  historical connectedness of human life, 143.

III. CONSERVATISM AND RADICALISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  144

  Conservatism values the existing order, 144.  Progress
  requires the maintenance and use of order, 145.  The
  real radical not the sceptic but the rationalist, 145.
  The justification of the radical, 146.


  Institutions are permanent moral necessities, 147.
  Government as the interest both of the weak and of the
  strong, 148.  The moral necessity of government, 150.
  The variable and progressive factor in government,
  151.  The principle of rationality in government, 152.
  The benefits and cost of government in the ancient
  military monarchy, 152.  Solidarity of interest in the
  Greek and Roman oligarchies, 154.  Advance in liberality
  in Athenian institutions, 156.  The development
  of modern institutions, 157.  The modern idea of
  democracy, 158.  Summary of the modern state.  It is
  territorial and impersonal, 160.  The representative
  method, 160.  Emphasis on internal policy and
  international peace, 162.


  Democracy based not on pity but on enlightenment,
  163.  The respect for the opinion of those most
  interested, 164.  The spirit of modern justice, 165.
  Sensitiveness to life, 166.  The allowance for growth, 167.
  The individual and the crowd, 168.  Hopefulness and
  the bias of maturity, 169.  The work done and the
  work to do, 170.


THE MORAL CRITICISM OF FINE ART  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  171


  The higher activities of civilization, 171.  The attempt
  to apply aesthetic standards to life, 172.  The claim of
  art to exemption from moral criticism is based on
  misapprehension.  Morality not a special interest, but the
  fundamental interest, 174.  Morality does not substitute
  its canons for those of art, 175.


  Art as the adaptation of the environment to interest,
  176.  Industrial art and fine art, 177.  The aesthetic
  interest: the interest in apprehension, 179.  The
  interest in sensation and perception, 181.  The emotional
  interest, 182.  Instinct and emotion in the aesthetic
  experience.  Poetry and music, 183.  The interest in
  discernment, 185.  The representative element in art
  exemplified in Greek sculpture, 185.  And in Italian
  painting of the Renaissance, 187.  Levels and blendings
  of the aesthetic interest, 189.  The moral criticism of
  the aesthetic interest, 190.


  The aesthetic interest is capable of continuous
  development, 192.  And is resourceful, 192.  But tends
  on that account to be narrow and quiescent, 192.


  The aesthetic interest may supply interest where there
  is none, or enhance other interests, 194.  But it must
  not be allowed to replace other interests, 195.


  Other interests may be represented by the aesthetic
  interest, 197.  The danger of confusing vicarious
  fulfilment with real fulfilment, 198.  And of being
  aesthetically satisfied with failure, 199.

VI. ART AS A MEANS OF STIMULATING ACTION . . . . . . . . . .  201

  Art is a source of motor excitation,201.  But such
  excitation is morally indeterminate, 201.  Such influences
  must be selected with reference to their effect on moral
  purpose, 202.

VII. ART AS A MEANS OF FIXING IDEAS  . . . . . . . . . . . .  203

  The higher practical ideas have no other concrete
  embodiment than art, 203.  Art both fixes ideas and
  arouses sentiment in their behalf, 204.  But if art is
  to serve this end it must be true, 205.  Untruth in
  art, 206.  Universality and particularity in art, 207.
  Art may invest ideas with a fictitious value, 208.


  Art is unworldly, 209.  The aesthetic intercourse
  promotes social intercourse on a high plane, 210.

IX. CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  212

  When subjected to moral control, art may make the
  environment harmonious with morality, 212.


THE MORAL JUSTIFICATION OF RELIGION  . . . . . . . . . . . .  214

I. THE DEFINITION OF RELIGION  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  214

  The sound practical motive in religion, 214.  Religion
  as belief, 216.  Summary definition of religion, 218.

II. THE TESTS OF RELIGION  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  218

  The measure of religion, extensive and intensive, 218.
  The test of truth the fundamental test, 220.  The
  therapeutic test, and its confusion of the issue, 222.
  The two forms of the truth test, cosmological and ethical,
  224.  The working of these critical principles, 226.
  Cosmology and ethics are independent of religion, 228.
  The optimistic bias, 231.  Summary of religious
  development, 231.

III. SUPERSTITION  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  232

  The prudential character of superstition, 232.  The
  ethical idea in primitive religion, 233.  The
  cosmological idea, 234.  The method of primitive religion,
  235.  Superstition in Christianity, 235.  The ethical
  and cosmological correction of superstition, 236.

IV. TUTELARY RELIGION  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  237

  The deity identified with the purpose of the worshipper,
  237.  The national religion of the Assyrians and
  Egyptians, 238.  The correction of tutelary religion, 239.


  Religion formally enlightened, 241.  Metaphysical and
  moral idealism, 242.  The inherent difficulty in
  metaphysical idealism, 242.  The swing from formalism to
  materialism.  Pessimism, other-worldliness, mysticism,
  panlogism and aesthetic idealism, 243.  Aesthetic
  idealism falsifies experience and discredits moral
  distinctions, 246.

VI. MORAL IDEALISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  248

  Moral idealism reflects moral judgment, 248.  Evil real
  but not deliberately perpetrated.  The knowledge of
  evil, 249.  The ground of moral idealism, 252.

VII. THE GENERIC VALUE OF RELIGION . . . . . . . . . . . . .  252

  Religion morally inevitable, 252.  The value of the
  religious generalization of life, 253.  The immediate
  reward of service, 254.  Religion and moral
  enthusiasm, 254.  Culture and religion, 255.

NOTES  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  257

INDEX  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  263





In the words with which this book is inscribed, Bishop Butler conveys
with directness and gravity the conviction that morality is neither a
mystery nor a convention, but simply an observance of the laws of
provident living.  "Things and actions are what they are, and the
consequences of them will be what they will be: why then should we
desire to be deceived?" [1]  This appeal, commonplace enough, but
confident and true, sounds the note with which through all that follows
I shall hope to keep in unison.

It is because he professes to believe that morality is an imposture
that must be smuggled into society behind the back of reason, that
Nietsche makes a merit of its dulness.  "It is desirable," he says,
"that as few people as possible should reflect upon morals, and
consequently it is very desirable that morals should not some day
become interesting!" [2]  He confesses that he sees no occasion for
alarm!  But the dulness of {2} morality testifies only to its
homeliness and antiquity.  For to be moral is simply to be intelligent,
to be right-minded and open-minded in the unavoidable business of
living.  Morality is a collection of formulas and models based solidly
on experience of acts and their consequences; it offers the most
competent advice as to how to proceed with an enterprise, whether large
or small.  It is the theory and technique which underlies the art of
conduct; that "master-workman," by whom kings reign and princes decree
justice; possessed by the Lord in the beginning of his way, and whom to
hate is to love death.

It is worth while to remark and proclaim such a conviction as this only
because mankind has so treacherous a memory, and so fatuous a habit of
disowning its most precious and dearly won possessions.  Cardinal
truths are periodically overlaid with sophistication, blended with
tentative opinion, and identified with the instruments of the day.
There results a confusion of mind that fails to distinguish the essence
from the accident, and aims to destroy where there is need to rectify.
Because government is clumsy and costly, it is proposed to abolish
government; because education is artificial and constraining, society
is exhorted to return to the easy course of nature; metaphysics must be
swept away, because the {3} metaphysics of some time or school has
outlived its usefulness; and morality, because it is hard or tiresome,
must give way to the freedom and romance of no morality.  Such blind
and irresponsible agitation is a perpetual menace to the balance of
impressionable and unsteady minds, if not indeed to the work of

Now it is safe to say that these venerable institutions have arisen in
answer to fixed needs; needs implied in life as a general and constant
situation.  There is no other way of accounting for them.  They have
been tolerated only because they yield a steady return.  Their loss
would be a catastrophe which mankind, obedient to the necessities of
life, would fall at once to repairing.  Institutions are the very body
of civilization; and while they may grow and change without limit, if
they be abruptly destroyed civilization must suffer paralysis in some
vital part.  At once the most direct and striking proof of this lies in
the fact that the revolutionist, whether he be propagandist or man of
action, invariably commits himself, and ends by executing the very
function he denied.  At the moment when he comes to close quarters, and
actually engages the object of his attack, he is swept into some
current of endeavor that has from the most ancient times been pressing
steadily toward the solution of a problem that lies in the centre of
{4} the path of life.  He straightway commences himself to govern,
educate, speculate, or moralize.  And the more patiently he labors, the
greater his respect for the vested wisdom of his time.  Whereas he
first sought utterly to demolish, he is now content to make his little
difference and hand on the work.  In the end every purely destructive
programme is inevitably futile, because it goes against the grain.  For
all conduct is constructive in motive, and forward in direction.  But
how wasteful is the momentary fury--wasteful of high passion and
distinguished capacity, and how mystifying to the lay intelligence!

It may, of course, be said that there is method in this madness; since
man's twofold blindness, his dogmatism and his scepticism, his
immobility and his wantonness, tend in the long run to neutralize one
another.  But with the perspective required for such consolation,
neither the agencies of destruction nor those of obstruction preserve
the same heroic proportions which they are wont to assume in their day.
They seem to be engaged in a sort of by-play, and wear an unmistakable
aspect of childishness.  Lo!  Mankind has been a long time on his way,
and endures hardily the prospect of endless leagues to go.  He is the
Patient Plodder, symbol of mature intelligence.  And he has in his
company two small boys who exhibit an incorrigible {5} naughtiness.
The one of these is called Destruction; his other names being Cynic,
Sceptic, and Nihilist.  He it is that mocks and cries, "Go up, thou
bald head! go up, thou bald head!"  Mankind does not curse him in the
name of the Lord, but invites him to play with another small boy, named
Obstruction, and whose other names are Vested Interest, Reactionary,
and Pedant.  This one, whenever Mankind will lead him, digs in his
heels or lies down in his tracks; until, pricked and goaded by his
playfellow, he at length gets up and scrambles after.  And so these two
keep ever by the side or at the heels of Mankind, whom they neither
lead nor deflect from his course.

Paradox serves to dislodge prejudice; and blasphemy may rudely but
effectually bring to their senses those who have mistaken the hardness
of their hearts for loyalty, and their easy default for success.  But
practical wisdom belongs only to those who proceed unwaveringly out of
the past and into the future, correcting mistakes when they may,
conserving the good already won, and making new conquests.

It may be remarked, and should be readily granted, that patient
plodding is less _piquant_ than the by-play of inertia and revolt.  The
spirit of Nietsche is doubtless even now yawning mightily at such
tedious moralizing; fresh proof of the "dull, gloomy seriousness," the
hopeless {6} stupidity of our sublunary virtue.  I believe that
Nietsche has frankly confessed the real grievance of his class of
mischief makers.  They are impatient and easily bored; while the
business of establishing a healthful and vigorous society is
complicated, tortuous, and slow.  Their talent for letters, their love
of vivid pictures, sharp contrasts, and concise dramatic situations,
cannot adapt itself to the real bulk and complexity of life.
Civilization is too promiscuous, too prolonged and monotonous, for
these rare spirits.  And they have their sure reward; for they ease the
tension of effort, supplying a recreative release from its pangs under
the flattering guise of higher truth.  All the impatience and
playfulness in the world conspires with them.  But as one of the demos
of moral dullards, I get no little comfort from applying to Nietsche
and Ibsen, and to certain prophet litterateurs of England, Burke's
reproof of Lord Bolingbroke.

When men find that something can be said in favor of what, on the very
proposal, they have thought utterly indefensible, they grow doubtful of
their own reason; they are thrown into a sort of pleasing surprise;
they run along with the speaker, charmed and captivated to find such a
plentiful harvest of reasoning, where all seemed barren and
unpromising. . . .  There is a sort of gloss upon ingenious falsehoods
that dazzles the imagination, but which neither belongs to, nor becomes
the sober aspect of truth. . . .  In such cases, the writer has a
certain fire and {7} alacrity inspired into him by a consciousness,
that let it fare how it will with the subject, his ingenuity will be
sure of applause.[3]

It is safe to accept morality as one accepts agriculture, navigation,
constitutional government, or any other tried solution of an
unavoidable problem.  There is false opinion here as elsewhere, and
hollow convention is not infrequently paraded as duty and wisdom; but
the nucleus of morality is verified truth, the precipitate of mankind's
prolonged experiment in living.

I do not propose, however, to be satisfied with so modest a claim.  It
might still be contended that morality is doubtless true so far as it
goes, or well enough for those who care for it; but that it will
scarcely concern other than the more coarse-grained and less
adventurous minds.  It is customary to associate high wisdom with the
pursuit of some special interest, for its own sake, and under no wider
law than a sort of professional etiquette or code of honor.  Business
is business, art is art, truth is truth, and for one who cares to "go
in for it," virtue is for virtue's sake.  Those who ride hobbies do not
object to the moralist, provided he does not intrude.  But if he
applies his rules to other than his own personal or domestic affairs,
he is berated as an impertinent busybody who is talking of things he
does not understand.  Now I venture to assert that the {8} moralist in
the nature of the case can never be impertinent, though he may be
impolite or even insulting.  He can never be impertinent because,
contrary to the formula of the day, there is no such thing as virtue
for virtue's sake.  Morality is the one interest that virtually
represents all interests.  It is the interest of every man in the
general tests of success and failure, and in the maintenance of the
field or medium of all interests.  There is no enterprise which, if
conducted efficiently, is not a verification of moral rules; there is
no enterprise which does not receive and transmit the now of life that
circulates through the moral system at large.  To be righteously
indignant is to protest passionately in behalf of the whole good, and
against the clumsy and inadvertent evil.  To this morality owes its
universal support, its invincible finality.  It need never be
apologetic, because it holds no brief; it advocates no measure except
the carrying through to the end of what is virtually undertaken by all
parties to the adventure of life.

It follows that no man can exempt himself from moral liability.  He is
irrevocably committed to life, and can neglect the laws of life only at
his absolute or ultimate peril.  What does it profit a man to gain a
bit here and a bit there, if he is foreordained to loss on the whole?
If he squanders his moral patrimony he has no means of {9} recouping
his fortunes; he has wasted his supporting vitality and forfeited his
general livelihood.

And now if this be true it is of more than passing or sentimental
importance.  It needs to be vividly realized if morality is to make its
saving appeal.  Morality is only discredited through being sanctioned;
its proper merits are more eloquent than its friends and borrowed
auspices.  If it can be simply proclaimed as it is, it cannot be
denied.  This is one of the things which I undertake to do.  But to
understand what morality really is, to recognize its claims, is to
understand also its application, its critical pertinence to art and
religion, to all the great and permanent undertakings of men.  Such
application I shall in the later chapters undertake to suggest, partly
as an amplification of the meaning of morality, and partly as a
programme of further reflection looking toward a moral philosophy of
history.  I can do no more in the present chapter than broadly present
the structure of morality, leaving the logic of its appeal and its more
important applications for the chapters which follow.


The moral affair of men, a prolonged and complicated historical
enterprise, is thrown into historical relief upon the background of a
mechanical cosmos.  Nature, as interpreted by the {10} inorganic
sciences, presents a spectacle of impassivity.  It moves, transforms,
and radiates, on every scale and in all its gigantic range of temporal
and spatial distance, utterly without loss or gain of value.  One
cannot rightly attribute to such a world even the property of neglect
or brutality.  Its indifference is absolute.

Such a world is devoid of value because of the elimination of the bias
of life.  Where no interest is at stake, changes can make no practical
difference; where no claims are made, there can be neither fortune nor
calamity, neither comedy nor tragedy.  There is no object of applause
or resentment, if there be nothing in whose behalf such judgments may
be urged.

But with the introduction of life, even the least particle of it, the
rudest bit of protoplasm that ever made the venture, nature becomes a
new system with a new centre.  The organism inherits the earth; the
mechanisms of nature become its environment, its resources in the
struggle to keep for a time body and soul together.  The mark of life
is partiality for itself.  If anything is to become an object of
solicitude, it must first announce itself through acting in its own
behalf.  With life thus instituted there begins the long struggle of
interest against inertia and indifference, that war of which
civilization itself is only the latest and most triumphant phase.


Nature being thus enlivened, the simpler terms of value now find a
meaning.  A living thing must suffer calamities or achieve successes;
and since its fortunes are _good_ or _bad_ in the most elementary sense
that can be attached to these conceptions, it is worth our while to
consider the matter with some care.  An _interest_, or unit of life, is
essentially an organization which consistently acts for its own
preservation.  It deals with its environment in such wise as to keep
itself intact and bring itself to maturity; appropriating what it
needs, and avoiding or destroying what threatens it with injury.  The
interest so functions as to supply itself with the means whereby it may
continue to exist and function.  This is the principle of action which
may be generalized from its behavior, and through which it may be
distinguished within the context of nature.  Now the term _interest_
being construed in this sense, we may describe goodness as _fulfilment
of interest_.  The description will perhaps refer more clearly to human
life, if for the term _interest_ we substitute the term _desire_.
Goodness would then consist in the _satisfaction of desire_.  In other
words, things are good because desired, not desired because good.  To
say that one desires things because one needs them, or likes them, or
admires them, is redundant; in the end one simply desires certain
things, that is, one {12} possesses an interest or desire which they
fulfil.  There are as many varieties of goodness as there are varieties
of interest; and to the variety of interest there is no end.

Strictly speaking, goodness belongs to an interest's actual state of
fulfilment.  This will consist in an activity, exercised by the
interest, but employing the environment.  With a slight shift of
emphasis, goodness in this absolute sense will attach either to
interest in so far as nourished by objects, as in the case of hunger
appeased, or to objects in so far as assimilated to interest, as in the
case of food consumed.  It follows that goodness in a relative sense,
in the sense of "good for," will attach to whatever _conduces_ to good
in the absolute sense; that is, actions and objects, such as
agriculture and bread, that lead directly or indirectly to the
fulfilment of interest.  But "good" and "good for," like their
opposites "bad" and "bad for," are never sharply distinguishable,
because the imagination anticipates the fortunes of interests, and
transforms even remote contingencies into actual victory or defeat.

Through their organization into life, the mechanisms of nature thus
take on the generic quality of good and evil.  They either serve
interests or oppose them; and must be employed and assimilated, or
avoided and rejected {13} accordingly.  Events which once indifferently
happened are now objects of hope and fear, or integral parts of success
and failure.


But that organization of life which denotes the presence of morality
has not yet been defined.  The isolated interest extricates itself from
mechanism; and, struggling to maintain itself, does, it is true, divide
the world into good and bad, according to its uses.  But the moral
drama opens only when interest meets interest; when the path of one
unit of life is crossed by that of another.  Every interest is
compelled to recognize other interests, on the one hand as parts of its
environment, and on the other hand as partners in the general
enterprise of life.  Thus there is evolved the _moral_ idea, or
principle of action, according to which _interest allies itself with
interest in order to be free-handed and powerful_ against the common
hereditary enemy, the heavy inertia and the incessant wear of the
cosmos.  Through morality a plurality of interests becomes an
_economy_, or _community of interests_.

I have thus far described the situation as though it were essentially a
social one.  But while, historically speaking, it is doubtless always
social in one of its aspects, the essence of the matter is as truly
represented within the {14} group of interests sustained by a single
organism, when these, for example, are united in an individual
life-purpose.  Morality is that procedure in which several interests,
whether they involve one or more physical organisms, are so adjusted as
to function as one interest, more massive in its support, and more
coherent and united in the common task of fulfilment.  Interests
morally combined are not destroyed or superseded, as are mechanical
forces, by their resultant.  The power of the higher interest is due to
a summing of incentives emanating from the contributing interests; it
can perpetuate itself only through keeping these interests alive.  The
most spectacular instance of this is government, which functions as
one, and yet derives its power from an enormous variety of different
interests, which it must foster and conserve as the sources of its own
life.  In all cases the strength of morality must lie in its liberality
and breadth.

Morality is simply the forced choice between suicide and abundant life.
When interests war against one another they render the project of life,
at best a hard adventure, futile and abortive.  I hold it to be of
prime importance for the understanding of this matter to observe that
from the poorest and crudest beginnings, morality is _the massing of
interests against a reluctant cosmos_.  Life has been attended with
discord and mutual {15} destruction, but this is its failure.  The
first grumbling truce between savage enemies, the first collective
enterprise, the first peaceful community, the first restraint on
gluttony for the sake of health, the first suppression of ferocity for
the sake of a harder blow struck in cold blood,--these were the first
victories of morality.  They were moral victories in that they
organized life into more comprehensive unities, making it a more
formidable thing, and securing a more abundant satisfaction.  The fact
that life thus combined and weighted, was hurled against life, was the
lingering weakness, the deficiency which attends upon all partial
attainment.  The moral triumph lay in the positive access of strength.

Let us now correct our elementary conceptions of value so that they may
apply to moral value.  The fulfilment of a simple isolated interest is
good, but only _the fulfilment of an organization of interests_ is
morally good.  Such goodness appears in the realization of an
individual's systematic purpose or in the well-being of a community.
That it virtually implies one ultimate good, the fulfilment of the
system of all interests, must necessarily follow; although we cannot at
present deal adequately with that conclusion.

The quality of moral goodness, like the quality of goodness in the
fundamental sense, lies not in the nature of any class of objects, but
in any {16} object or activity whatsoever, in so far as this provides a
fulfilment of interest or desire.  In the case of moral goodness this
fulfilment must embrace a group of interests in which each is limited
by the others.  Its value lies not only in fulfilment, but also in
adjustment and harmony.  And this value is independent of the special
subject-matter of the interests.  Moralists have generally agreed that
it is impossible to conceive moral goodness exclusively in terms of any
special interest, even such as honor, power, or wealth.[4]  There is no
interest so rare or so humble that its fulfilment is not morally good,
provided that fulfilment forms part of the systematic fulfilment of a
group of interests.

But there has persisted from the dawn of ethical theory a misconception
concerning the place of _pleasure_ in moral goodness.  It has been
supposed that every interest, whatever its special subject-matter, is
an interest in pleasure.  Now while a thorough criticism of hedonism
would be out of place here, even if it were profitable, a summary
consideration of it will throw some light on the truth.[5]
Fortunately, the ethical status of pleasure is much clearer than its
psychological status.  As a moral concern, pleasure is either a
_special interest_, in which case it must take its place in the whole
economy of life, and submit to principles which adjust it to the rest;
or it is _an {17} element in every interest_, in which case it is
itself not an interest at all.  Now whether it be proper to recognize a
special interest in pleasure, it is not necessary here to determine.
That this should be generally supposed to be the case is mainly due, I
think, to a habit of associating pleasure peculiarly with certain
familiar and recurrent bodily interests.  At any rate it is clear that
the pleasure which constantly _attends_ interests is not that _in which
the interest is taken_.  Interests and desires are qualitatively
diverse, and to an extent that is unlimited.  The simpler organisms are
not interested in pleasure, but in their individual preservation; while
man is interested not only in preservation, but in learning,
card-playing, loving, fighting, bargaining, and all the innumerable
activities that form part of the present complex of life.

Now, it is true that it is agreeable or pleasant to contemplate the
fulfilment of an interest; and that such anticipatory gratification in
some measure accompanies all endeavor.  But there is an absolute
difference between such present pleasure and the prospect which evokes
it.  And it is that prospect or imagined state of fulfilment which is
the object of endeavor, the good sought.  It is also true that the
_fulfilment_ of every interest is pleasant.  But this means only that
the interest is conscious of its fulfilment.  In pleasure {18} and pain
life records its gains and losses, and is guided to enhance the one or
repair the other.  Where in the scale of life pleasure and pain begin
it is not now possible to say, but it is certain that they are present
wherever interests engage in any sort of reciprocity.  If one interest
is to control or engage another it must be aware of it, and alive to
its success or failure.  Where life has reached the human stage of
complexity, in which interests supervene upon interests, in which every
interest is itself an object of interest, the consciousness of good and
evil assumes a constantly increasing importance.  Life is more watchful
of itself, more keenly sensitive to the fortunes of all of its
constituent parts.  It is proper, therefore, to associate pleasure with
goodness; and happiness, or a more constant and pervasive pleasure,
with the higher forms of moral goodness.  But pleasure and happiness
are incidental to goodness; necessary, but not definitive of its
general form and structure.

In addition to goodness thus amplified there now enters into life at
the moral stage a new element of value, the _rightness_ or _virtue_ of
action which, though moved by some immediate desire, is at the same
time controlled by a regard for a higher or more comprehensive
interest.  This is the distinguishing quality of all that wins moral
approval: thrift and temperance; loyalty {19} and integrity; justice,
unselfishness, and public spirit; humanity and piety.  To the further
discussion of these several virtues we shall have occasion shortly to

Moral procedure, then, differs from life in its more elementary form,
through the fact that interests are organized.  Morality is only life
where this has assumed the form of the forward movement of character,
nationality, and humanity.  Moral principles define the adjustment of
interest to interest, for the saving of each and the strengthening of
both against failure and death.  Morality is only the method of
carrying on the affair of life beyond a certain point of complexity.
It is the method of concerted, cumulative living, through which
interests are brought from a doubtful condition of being tolerated by
the cosmos, to a condition of security and confidence.  The spring and
motive of morality are therefore absolutely one with those of life.
The self-preservative impulse of the simplest organism is the initial
bias from which, by a continuous progression in the direction of first
intent, have sprung the service of mankind and the love of God.



There is an old and unprofitable quarrel between those who identify,
and those who contrast, morality with _nature_.  To adjudicate this
quarrel, it is necessary to define a point at which nature somehow
exceeds herself.  Strictly speaking, it is as arbitrary to say that
morality, which arose and is immersed in nature, is not natural, as to
say that magnetism and electricity are not natural.  If nature be
defined in terms of the categories of any stage of complexity, all
beyond will wear the aspect of a miracle.  It would be proper to
dismiss the question as only a trivial matter of terminology, did not
the discussion of it provide an occasion for alluding to certain
confused notions that have obtained wide currency.

Thus there is an ancient belief that it is natural to be licentious;
that man is at heart unruly and wilful, wearing the artificial good
behavior of civilization as he wears his clothes.  Nietsche has
contributed not a little to the glorification of this pro-natural and
anti-moral monster.  And yet no one has recognized more clearly than
he, that restraint and law are not only in life from the beginning, but
that they are themselves the very sources of its power.

'The singular fact remains,' he says, 'that everything of the nature of
freedom, elegance, boldness, {21} dance, and masterly certainty, which
exists or has existed, whether it be in thought itself, or in
administration, or in speaking and persuading, in art just as in
conduct, has only developed by means of the tyranny of such arbitrary
law; and in all seriousness; it is not at all improbable that precisely
this is "nature" and "natural"--and not _laisser-aller_!'[6]

It only remains to drop the terms "arbitrary" and "tyranny"; since the
principle of development in life can scarcely be regarded as arbitrary,
or its effectual working as tyranny.

Huxley chose to draw a line between nature and morality, at the point
where a limit is set to the isolated organism's struggle against all

The practice of that which is ethically best--what we call goodness or
virtue--involves a course of conduct which, in all respects, is opposed
to that which leads to success in the cosmic struggle for existence.
In place of ruthless self-assertion it demands self-restraint.[7]

But Huxley appears momentarily to have overlooked the fact that the
struggle for existence itself puts a premium on self-restraint.  For
there is no stage of evolution in which the adjustment and co-operation
of interests is not an aid to survival.  One does not have to rise
higher in the scale of life than the plants fertilized by insects, to
observe the working of this principle.  It is only the crudest and most
impotent self-assertion that is "ruthless."  The reason for this {22}
is simply that the real enemy of every vital process is not another
kindred process, but the mechanical environment.  Life is essentially
an assertion, not against life, but against death.  Interests that
expend their energies in destroying or crippling one another, slip back
toward that primeval lifelessness from which they emerged.  Restraint
for the sake of organization is therefore only a developed and
intelligent self-assertion.

If one insists still upon drawing a line between cosmical and moral
forces, let it be drawn at the point where there first arises that
unstable complex called life.  Life does in a sense oppose itself to
the balance of nature.  To hold itself together, it must play at parry
and thrust with the very forces which gave it birth.  Once having
happened, it so acts as to persist.  But it should be remarked that
this opposition between the careless and rough course of the cosmos,
the insidious forces of dissolution, on the one hand, and the
self-preserving care of the organism on the other, is present
absolutely from the outset of life.

Vegetable and animal organisms do, it is true, adapt themselves to the
environment; but their adaptation is essentially a method of using and
modifying the environment in their own favor, precisely as is the case
with human action.  {23} Therefore Huxley's sharp distinction between
natural plant life and man's artificial garden is misleading.

'The tendency of the cosmic process,' he says, 'is to bring about the
adjustment of the forms of plant life to the current conditions; the
tendency of the horticultural process is the adjustment of the
conditions to the needs of the forms of plant life which the gardener
desires to raise.'[8]

But this is to ignore the basal fact, which is that plant life in any
form is a defiance of current conditions.  Art has already begun when
natural processes assume a form that feeds itself, reproduces itself,
and grows.  The first organisms have only a local footing; they are
rooted in the soil, and can turn to their advantage only the conditions
characteristic of a time and place.  Eventually there evolves a more
resourceful unit of life, like the gardener with his cultivated plants,
who is capable of inhabiting nature at large.  But the method is still
the same, that of playing off nature against nature; only it is now
done on a larger scale, and in a more aggressive and confident spirit.
The need of concession to the demands of locality is reduced, through a
concession once and for all to the wider processes of nature.  But in
relation to its environment, life is never wholly constructive, as it
is never wholly passive.  Whether it appears in the form of vegetation
or civilization, {24} it always involves both an adaptation of nature
to itself and of itself to nature.

Morality, then, is natural if life is natural; for it is defined by the
same essential principles.  It is related to life as a later to an
earlier phase of one development.  The organization of life answers the
self-preservative impulse with which life begins; the deliberate
fulfilment of a human purpose is only life grown strong enough through
organization to conduct a larger and more adventurous enterprise.


In the light of this conception let us examine more fully the relation
of morality to the competitive struggle between individuals and
communities.  There can, of course, be no doubt that competition forces
life up in the scale.  But it is equally true, and more significant,
that in the course of that progress competition itself is steadily
eliminated.  The stronger units of life prevail against the weaker.
But the stronger units of life are the more inclusive and harmonious
complexes of interest.  They are constituted by adjusting interests;
allowing each a modicum of free play, or crushing those that will not
submit to organization.  Within such units the principle of mechanical
survival gives way to the principle of moral survival.  I mean by this
that {25} the selection, rejection, and gradation of interests is made
not on the basis of the uncompromising self-assertion of each and the
survival of the hardy remnant; but on the basis of the contribution
made by each to the life of the collective body.  The test of survival
is obedience to a law defined in the joint interest of all, and control
is vested in the rational capacity to represent this interest and
conduct it to a safe and profitable issue.  The strength of life thus
organized lies in its massiveness, in its effective plenitude.  When
such units wage war on one another, this strength is wasted; and the
very same principle that strength shall prevail, tends to the extension
of the organization until it shall embrace contentious factions.

Even where the principle of survival does not operate, conflict has
been, and yet remains, a factor in moral progress of enormous and
far-reaching importance.  The more keen and unrelenting it is, the more
effectually does it expose the weakness of the competing units, the
more urgently does it require a better concentration and economy of
effort.  In order to fight a rival, it is necessary to leave off
fighting one's self, and be healthy and single-minded.  An industrial
corporation, in order to overreach its competitors, is compelled to
adjust its intricate functions with incredible nicety, to utilize
by-products, and even to introduce old-age pensions for the promotion
{26} of morale among its employees.  And so a nation, to be strong in
war, must enjoy peace and justice at home.  War has served society by
welding great aggregates of interest into compact and effective wholes,
the enemy providing an object upon which collective endeavor can unite.

But circumstances that press life forward will be left behind, if these
circumstances are not themselves good.  And war is not that for which
men war; they war for the existence and satisfaction of their
interests.  That which is constructive and saving in war is not the
contact between the warring parties, but their internal coherence and
harmony.  It is _that_ which survives when hostility is inhibited by a
recognition of the cost; it is that which is extended when hostility
gives way to a wider co-ordination of interests.

The loss when contending currents are redirected and flow together is
not a loss of power, but only of neutralizing resistance.  It is true
that the lesson of harmony is learned through discord; but harmony is
none the less in the end exclusive of discord.  The principle of peace,
learned at home through the hard necessity of war abroad, finds only a
more complete justification and beneficent application in peace abroad.
It is love and not hate that is the moving spring of life.  It is love
which is constructive; hate destroys even the very object that evokes
and {27} sustains it.  It is essential, then, to life, not only to
assert and reproduce itself, but to increase itself through allying
itself with life.  Where the motive of life thus freely expresses
itself, there are no natural enemies.

I count it to be important thus to trace morality back to the original
love of life, since only so is it possible to understand its urgency,
and its continuity with every organic impulse.  It is because morality
is without warrant dislocated from the natural life, that it is accused
of being barren and formal.  To many minds it is best symbolized by the
kindly lady who gives the small boy a penny, and admonishes him not to
spend it.  But there could be no more outrageous travesty.  Morality in
its springs is absolutely one with that clinging to life which is the
most deep-lying of all interests, and with that relish for life in
which its goodness needs no philosopher's approval.  The primal
determination to be and to sell one's self dearly, is not different,
except in its limits, from the moral determination to be and to attain
to the uttermost.  The whole force of life is behind every moral
scruple, and guarantees the sanity even of a universal good-will.

But the identification of morality with the organization of life,
serves also to demonstrate life in its unity and larger auspices.
Morality harmonizes life and eliminates its wanton {28}
self-destruction; but life is not therefore left without an object of
conquest.  For there is one campaign in which all interests are
engaged, and which requires their undivided and aggressive effort.
This is the first and last campaign, the war of life upon the routine
of the mechanical cosmos and its forces of dissolution.  To live, to
let live, and to grow in life, constitute an absorbing and passionate
task, in which every human heroism may find a proper object.


It must be admitted that the imagination has not yet sufficiently
glorified this enterprise of civilization.  It is hard to forget old
shibboleths and loyalties.  And yet precisely that must be done with
every advance in liberality.  Admiration and passion lag behind reason;
are forever backsliding and debauching themselves among the companions
of their youth.  But man's salvation lies not in degrading his reason
to the level of his loyalties, nor in allowing the two to drift apart,
but in acquiring a finer loyalty.  And while one cannot extemporize the
symbols and imagery of devotion, these will surely grow about any
sustained purpose.

We hear much in our day of the passing of nobility and enthusiasm with
the era of war.  "Whatever makes men feel young," says Chesterton, {29}
"is great--a great war or a love story." [9]  Love stories will
doubtless continue to the end; but must man cease to feel young in the
days when cruelty and exploitation are obsolete?  Nietsche[10] speaks
with passionate regret of a certain "lordliness," or assertion of
superiority, that has latterly given place to the slave morality, which
aims at "the universal green-meadow happiness of the herd."  There are
no more heroes, of "lofty spirituality," but only levellers, timid,
stupid, mediocre folk, "_sans genie et sans esprit_."

Now there is a paradox that does not seem to have occurred to Nietsche,
in the slave insurrection by which he accounts for this dreary
spectacle.  It can scarcely be a code of slavishness that has enabled
slaves to overthrow their masters.  The morality of the modern European
democracy is the morality of the strong; of the many, it is true, but
of the many united and impassioned, moving toward the general end with
good heart.  And it is this which gave mastery to the once ruling
class.  Mastery appears wherever action is bold, united, and with the
pressure of interest behind it; mastery has nothing to do with the airs
of mastery, with Nietsche's "pathos of distance," separating class from
class.  The "instinct for rank," and "delight in the nuances of
reverence," are not signs of nobility, as Nietsche would have it.
There is no nose for them so {30} sensitive and discriminating as that
of the chambermaid or butler.  The mere pride of an easy mastery over
slaves is the taint of every society in which class differences are
recognized as fixed.  It attaches to all classes; whether it be called
snobbery or obsequiousness, it is all one.  The virtue of mastery, on
the other hand, lies in the power and in the attainment which it

And this Nietsche himself fully admits in his less inspired but more
thoughtful utterances.  It is "the constant struggle with uniform
unfavorable conditions" that fixes the type he admires.  When there are
no more enemies, "the bond and constraint of the old discipline
severs," and a rapid decay sets in; which leads inevitably, after a
chaos of individualism, to a period of mediocrity such as the present.
In other words, so soon as its political and social activities are
confined to "lording it," the aristocracy loses its vigor, and falls an
easy prey to democratic or other propagandists _who want something and
are united to attain it_.

Now it seems that if man is not to become spiritually bankrupt, he must
be confronted with unfavorable conditions that keep him vigilant and
alert.  Nietsche has no imagination for resistance, struggle, and
victory, except as these arise in the war of man against man.  His
heroes are Alcibiades, Caesar, and Frederick II, "men {31} predestined
for conquering and circumventing others."  But it is not easy for us of
this day to forget the others; it is the cost to them that galls our
conscience.  We cannot sincerely applaud a heroism in which life is
condemned to feed on itself.  Shall the only enemy that never fails,
the condition that is always indifferent if not unfavorable, namely,
the perpetual wear and drag of nature, be forgotten in order that men
may fall on one another?  Has man no more lordly task than that of
destroying what he holds to be good?  Is there no more of "creative
plenipotence" in man than killing and robbing?

I am convinced that it needs only enlightenment to reduce Nietsche's
circumventer of others to the proportions of a burglar; and to enlarge
to truly heroic proportions him who circumvents the blindness of
nature, brings up the weak or faint-hearted who lag behind, and throws
himself bravely into the enterprise of steady constructive
civilization.  Nietsche is beguiled by a love of melodrama.  He forgets
the real war for the pageantry of an era that will pass.  As a
misleader of youth he conspires with the writers of dime-novels to fix
the imagination on false symbols.  The small boy who would run away
from home for the glory of fighting Indians is deceived; both because
there are no longer any Indians to fight, and because there are more
glorious {32} battles to be fought at home.  War between man and man is
an obsolescent form of heroism.  There is every reason, therefore, why
it should not be glorified as the only occasion capable of evoking the
great emotions.  The general battle of life, the first and last battle,
is still on; and it has that in it of danger and resistance, of
comradeship and of triumph, that can stir the blood.

But I have not undertaken to make morality picturesque.  I shall leave
that to other hands.  In an age when it has been somewhat out of
literary fashion, Chesterton[11] has found it possible even to proclaim
morality as the latest and most enlivening paradox.  But I propose to
leave it clad in its own sobriety.  Its appeal in the last analysis
must be to a sense for reality, and to an enlightened practical wisdom.
Morality is that which makes man, "naked, shoeless, and defenceless" in
body, the master of the kingdom of nature.  Morality in this sense has
never been more simply and eloquently justified than in the words which
Plato puts into the mouth of Protagoras.  He first describes the arts
with which men contrived barely to sustain themselves, in a condition
no better than the beasts which preyed on them in their helplessness.
It is then that through the gift of Zeus they are rescued from their
degradation and invested with the forms of civilization.


After a while the desire of self-preservation gathered them into
cities; but when they were gathered together, having no art of
government, they evil-intreated one another, and were again in process
of dispersion and destruction.  Zeus feared that the entire race would
be exterminated, and so he sent Hermes to them, bearing reverence and
justice to be the ordering principles of cities and the bonds of
friendship and conciliation.[12]

But reverence and justice are more even than the ordering principles of
cities.  They are the conditions of the maximum of attainment, whether
this be conceived as that supreme excellence which Plato divined, or as
that all-saving good which is the object of a Christian devotion to
humanity.  Morality is the law of life, from its bare preservation to
its supreme fruition.  There is a high pretension in morality which is
the necessary consequence of its motive.  But man is not, on that
account, in need of those reminders of failure which are so easy to
offer, and which are so impotently true; he needs rather new symbols of
faith, through which his heart may be renewed, and his courage
fortified to proceed with an undertaking of which he cannot see the
end.  Faith and courage have brought him thus far:

  "Till he well-nigh can tame
  Brute mischiefs and control
  Invisible things and turn
  All warring ills to purposes of good."




There is a phrase, "liberty of conscience," which well expresses the
modern conception of moral obligation.  It recognizes that duty in the
last analysis is imposed upon the individual neither by society nor
even by God, but by himself; that there is no authority in moral
matters more ultimate than a man's own rational conviction of what is

We meet here with the application to morality of the motive which
underlies the whole modern reaction against medievalism, the motive
which John Locke so aptly summarized when he said, "We should not judge
of things by men's opinions, but of opinions by things." [1]  This is
individualism of the positive temper, the protest against convention
and authority; in behalf, not of license, but of knowledge.
Mediaevalism is condemned, not for its universalism, but for its
arbitrariness and untruth; for its mistaking of the weight of
collective opinion, or of institutional prestige, for the weight of

This is the characteristic temper of the modern {35} individualism,
whether it be dominated by a bias for sense or a bias for reason.
Locke, like his forerunner, Bacon, is an individualist because it is
the individual in his detachment from society that alone can be
open-eyed and open-minded; who is qualified to carry on that "proper
business of the understanding," "to think of everything just as it is
in itself." [2]  Descartes, although in habit of mind and speculative
instinct he has so little in common with the Englishman, nevertheless
finds in the individual's self-discipline and concentration the only
hope of preserving the savor of the salt of knowledge.  Thus he says:

I thought that the sciences contained in books, (such of them at least
as are made up of probable reasonings, without demonstrations),
composed as they are of the opinions of many different individuals
massed together, are farther removed from truth than the simple
inferences which a man of good sense using his natural and unprejudiced
judgment draws respecting the matters of his experience.[3]

Spinoza, who both abandoned the world and was abandoned by it, sought
an individual philosophy of life that should be more universal than the
opinion of the world on account of its greater truth.  "Further
reflection convinced me, that if I could really get to the root of the
matter I should be leaving certain evils for a certain good." [4]

This was the impulse in which modern tolerance of individual opinion
and appeal to {36} individual conscience originated.  It was a protest
not against order, but against the disheartening drag, the heavy and
dull constraint, of an order externally imposed.  Freedom was valued
not for the sake of lawlessness, but for the sake of a clearer
recognition of the proper laws of things, of the principles that lie in
nature and civilization and control them inherently.

Individualism in this sense is not sceptical.  Even a charge that
existing codes of morality and systems of thought are largely matters
of social habit, or rules devised by church and state to maintain an
arbitrary and profitable power, does not justify the inference that
there is no truth.  For there is no dilemma between public tyranny and
private caprice.  On the contrary, it means that tyranny is itself a
form of caprice, and that caprice in any form must give way before
reason and experiment.  Certain contemporary popular philosophers, such
as Wells and Shaw, appear to believe that to repudiate the rigid
conventions of the day means to abolish absolute distinctions utterly
and fall back upon a general laxity and vagueness.  But this is to
throw out the baby with the bath.  The evil in convention is the
substitution of merely _habitual_ distinctions for real distinctions,
and the only justification for an assault on convention is the bringing
of such real distinctions to light.


The individualist virtually claims that an individual's belief, if it
be critical, is entitled to precedence over public belief, simply
because the individual mind is a better instrument of knowledge than
the public mind.  It is the individual mind that is more directly
confronted with the evidence, more single and responsive.
Individualism is not, then, an appeal to private opinion in any
disparaging sense.  For, in so far as private opinion is independent
and truthful in motive, concerning itself with its objects rather than
with the social model of the day, it is self-corrective and tends
inevitably toward the common truth.  It is the opinion that is not
really individual, but imitative, respectful of persons, generally
submissive to ulterior motives of a social kind, that is private in the
bad sense.  Its privacy lies in its artificiality, in its partisanship,
and in its remove from the open daylight of experience.

If, therefore, one must in moral matters finally rely on the
individual's judgment, this in no way implies the breakdown of
universal principles.  It is neither necessary nor natural that
individual judgment should bespeak whim, hasty impulse, or narrow
self-interest.  The guardian in Plato's _Republic_ was as much an
individual as the merchant or the soldier.[5]  In a sense he was more
an individual than these, since he was not swayed by the crowd, but
thought with freedom {38} and independence.  Nevertheless his thought
embraced the interests of the entire community, and comprehended the
organization and forms of adjustment through which they all might live
and thrive.  In moral as in other matters the true appeal of
individualism is to an intelligence which, though emancipated from
convention, is on that very account committed to the general
necessities that lie in the field it seeks to know.

In view of these considerations, then, we may pronounce legitimate and
hopeful the moral individualism of the time.  It implies the
recognition that there is a genuine ground for moral action, which may
be brought home to any individual mind that will deal honestly and
directly with the facts of life.  Morality is not a useful fiction
which must be protected against inquisitiveness and cherished in
ignorance and servility; it is a body of compelling truth that will
convince wherever there is a capacity to observe and reason.  It
requires no higher sanction than the individual, because the individual
is society's organ of truth; because only in the individual mind is
society open to rational conviction.

Latitudinarianism and tolerance in this sense bespeak a confidence in
morality's ability to justify itself.  At the same time they represent
a protest against replacing the intrinsic truth of morality by the
arbitrary standards of authority {39} and convention.  Now, while there
is little need in the present day of protecting individual judgment
against encroachments of authority, there can be no doubt of the great
need of protecting it against the more insidious encroachments of
convention.  This is peculiarly an age of publicity.  The forces of
suggestion and imitation operate on a scale unparalleled in the history
of society.  Standards and types readily acquire an almost irresistible
prestige, simply through becoming established as models.  And the
sanction of opinion may be gained for almost any formula, from a
fashion in hats to an article in theology.  Convention can no longer be
accounted conservative.  It sanctions promiscuously usages as venerable
as civilization itself, and as transient as the fad of the hour.
Democratic institutions and universal educational privileges have bred
a social mass intelligent and responsive enough to be modish, but
lacking in discrimination and criticism.

The tyranny of opinion, the fear of being different, has long since
been recognized as a serious hinderance to the development which
political freedom and economic opportunity ought properly to stimulate.
But the moral blindness to which it gives rise has never, I think, been
sufficiently emphasized.  We require of business men only that measure
of honesty that we {40} conventionally expect in that type of
occupation.  A politician is proverbially tricky and self-seeking.  The
artistic temperament would scarcely be recognized if it did not
manifest itself in weakness and excess.  It is as unreasonable to
expect either tunefulness or humor in a musical comedy as to expect a
statement of fact in an advertisement.  In short, where any human
activity is conventionalized, standards are arbitrarily fixed; and
critical discernment grows dull if it does not altogether atrophy.  It
simply does not occur to the great majority of men that any activity
should be judged otherwise than by comparing it with the stereotyped
average of the day.  This is, to be sure, only that blindness of the
common mind which Socrates and Plato observed in their day, but it is
now aggravated through the greater massiveness and conductivity of
modern society.

These considerations will serve both to introduce and to justify my
present undertaking.  I assume that duty is not an arbitrary mandate
which the individual must obey blindly or from motives of fear; but the
conviction of moral truth, the enlightened recognition of the good.[6]
Hence I wish to demonstrate morality to an individual reflective mind,
open to the facts of life and to conviction of truth.  I shall expound
morality out of no book but experience, "that universal and publick
Manuscript, that lies {41} expans'd unto the Eyes of all."  To refer
morality to custom, to conscience in the sense of individual
prepossession or institutional authority, even if these be interpreted
as the oracles of God, is to justify the suspicion that it is
groundless and arbitrary, at best a matter of loyalty or good form.  I
shall present morality as a set of principles as inherent in conduct,
as unmistakably valid there, as is gravitation in the heavens.  I shall
hope to make it appear that the saving grace of morality is directly
operative in life; needing no proof from any adventitious source,
because it proves _itself_ under observation.

I shall address myself to an individual protagonist whom I shall
designate in the second person; and whom I shall suppose to exhibit
that yielding reluctance which is the mark of a mind that for very love
of truth will not too readily assent.

As I am to prove morality to you, I accept the burden of proof; but you
are not on that account totally without responsibility in the matter.
As you must not stop your ears, or close your bodily eyes, so you must
not shut the eye of the mind, or harden your heart.  Were you to adopt
such an attitude I should be compelled to set argument aside, and
resort to such practical measures as might shock or entice you into
reasonableness.  Or, I might abandon you as incorrigible.  It is {42}
clear that I can as little show reasons to a man who will not think
them with me, as I can show the road to one who will not look where I
point it out.  A very large amount of moral exhortation consists in the
attempt to overcome apathy and inattention.  Such exhortation cannot in
the nature of the case be logical, because the subject's logical organ
is not as yet functioning.  I doubt if there is any discussion of moral
matters in common life in which this form of appeal is not present in a
measure sufficient to obscure the merits of the question at issue.  I
desire for present purposes to eliminate as far as possible all
conflict and prejudices, and thus to dispense with zeal and eloquence.
I shall assume, therefore, that you propose to be reasonable concerning
this moral affair.  By this I mean simply that you shall directly
observe the facts of life, report candidly on these facts, and fully
accept the implications of any judgment to which you may commit
yourself.  I may phrase your pledge of reasonableness thus: "Show what
is right, and that it is right, and I will accept it.  I mean my action
to be good, and ask only to have the good demonstrated to me, that I
may intelligently adopt it."



It is commonly believed that whereas the logic of _prudence_ is
unimpeachable, there is a hiatus between this level of morality and
those above.  To drink one's self to death is a species of folly that
the poorest intelligence can understand; but the folly in meanness,
injustice, or impiety is a harder matter.  Believing as I do that the
folly is equally demonstrable in all of these cases, I propose not to
accept your ready assent in the simpler case until its grounds have
been made as clear and definite as possible.  I feel convinced that
prudence is not so simple a matter as appears; in fact that it involves
the whole ethical dialectic.

I find you, let us say, eating an apple with evident relish; and I ask
you why.  If you are candid, and free from pedantry, you will doubtless
reply that it is because you like to.  In this particular connection I
can conceive no profounder utterance.  But we may obtain a phraseology
that will suit our theoretical purposes more conveniently and serve
better to fix the matter in our minds.  Your eating of the apple is a
process that tends within certain limits to continue and restore
itself, to supply the actions and objects necessary to its own
maintenance.  I have proposed that we call such a process an
_interest_.  In that it is a part of that very complex physical and
{44} moral thing called "you," it is _your_ interest, and it also has,
of course, its special subject-matter, in this case the eating of an
apple.  It involves specific movements of body, and makes a specific
requisition on the environment.  Now, still confining ourselves
strictly to this interest, we shall doubtless agree to call any phase
of it in which it is fulfilled, in which its exercise is fostered and
unimpeded, _good_.  And we shall doubtless agree to attach the same
term, although perhaps in a less direct sense, to that part of the
environment which it requires, in this case the apple, and to the
subsidiary actions which mediate it, such as the grasping of the apple,
or the biting and mastication of it.  I mean only that these modes or
factors of the interest are _in some sense good_; qualifications and
limitations may be adjudicated later.

In this case, which so far as I can see is the simplest possible case
of the sort of value that enters into life, the value is supplied by a
specific type of process which we may call an interest, and it is
supplied thereby absolutely, fundamentally.  It makes both this apple
and your eating of it good that you should _like to eat it_.  If you
could explain every action as you explain this action, when it is thus
isolated, there would be no moral problem.

We may now safely open the door to the objections that have been
pressing for admission.  {45} The first to appear is an old friend
among philosophers; but one whose reputation so far exceeds its merits
that it must be submitted to vigilant examination.  It is objected (I
am sure that you have long wanted to say this) that your repast is
_good for you, good from your point of view_, but not on that account
_really good_.  These are the terms with which it is customary to
confound any serious judgment of truth; and they acquire a peculiar
force here because we seem to have invited their application.  We have
agreed that your action is good in that it suits your interest, and
thus seem to have defined its goodness as relative to you.  Now, if we
are to avoid a confusion of mind that would terminate our investigation
here and now, we must bring to light a latent ambiguity.

We have, it is true, discovered goodness to be a phase of a process
called "interest," which is qualified further, through the use of a
personal pronoun.  The nature of goodness, in other words, is such as
to involve certain specific _relations_, here involving a person or
subject.  Goodness is not peculiar in this respect; for there are very
few things in this world that do not involve specific relations.  This
is the case, for example, with planets, levers, and brothers.  There is
no planet without its sun, no lever without its fulcrum, no brother who
is not somebody's brother.


But the relationship in the case of goodness is supposed to be a more
serious matter; sufficiently serious to discredit the meaning of
goodness, or make all judgments concerning goodness merely expressions
of bias.  The supposition is due to the confusion of a relativity in
the _subject-matter_ of the judgment, with a relativity of the judgment
itself to the individual that gives utterance to it.  Thus the
judgment, "You like apples," deals with your interest and the objects
relating to it; but the judgment itself is not therefore biassed.  It
is no more an expression of your opinion than it is of mine; it is a
formulation of what occurs in the field of experience open to all
observers.  A judgment _concerning_ only you, is utterly different from
a judgment _representing_ only you.  The latter, if there were such a
thing, would be ungrounded, and would justify the sceptic's suspicions.
The confusion is possible here simply because the subject-matter of the
judgment in question is itself a judgment.  It could scarcely arise in
the parallel cases.  The lever cannot be defined except in relation to
its fulcrum.  This may be loosely generalized and made to read:
judgments concerning a lever are relative to a fulcrum.  It might even
be said that a lever is a lever only from the point of view of its own
fulcrum.  But the most unscrupulous quibbler would scarcely offer this
as evidence against {47} the objective validity of our knowledge of
levers.  Your brother is necessarily related to you; but the
proposition defining the relationship is not on that account relative,
that is, peculiarly yours or any one else's.  Fraternity is a complex
involving a personal connection, but is none the less entirely
objective.  And precisely the same thing is true of goodness.  To
observe it adequately one must bring into view that complex object
called an interest, which may be yours or his or mine; but it will be
brought none the less into our common view, and observed as any other
object may be observed.  Because goodness is inherent in a process
involving instincts, desires, or persons, it is not one whit less valid
or objective than it would be if it involved the sun or the first law
of motion.

Let us now turn to a much more fruitful objection.  Suppose it be
objected that your action, though good when thus artificially isolated,
will in the concrete case have to be considered more broadly before any
final judgment can be pronounced on it.  To this objection I fully
assent.  It implies that although we have fully defined a hypothetical
case of goodness, we have so far simplified the conditions as to make
our conclusions inadequate to moral experience.  Accepting this
qualification, it is now in order to complicate the situation; but
retaining our analysis {48} of the elementary process, and employing
terms in the meaning derived therefrom.

Let us suppose that the apple which you enjoy eating, is my apple, and
that I delight in keeping it for my own uses.  Such being the case, we
fall to wrangling over it, and your appetite is like to go unappeased.
I now have evidence to show you that your act of violent appropriation
does not conduce to your interest.  This is simply an experimental and
empirical fact.  I am in a position to show you that the character of
your action is other than you supposed, that you were under a
misapprehension as to its goodness.  It leads not to the enjoyable
activity which interests you, but to a series of bodily exertions and a
state of unfulfilled longing in which you have no interest at all.
Indeed your action is a hinderance to your interest; in other words, is

But I proceed to point out to you the further fact that, if you will
buy the apple and thus conciliate me, you may get rid of my
interference and proceed with your activity.  Your purchase is now
justified in precisely the same manner as your original seizure of the
object.  If you are asked why you do it, you may still reply, "Because
I like apples."

Now, it would accord with the customary use of terms to call such
action on your part _prudence_; and prudence is commonly regarded as a
virtue {49} or moral principle.  But in prudence the meaning of
morality is as yet only partially realized; it is morality upon a
relatively low level.  Hence it is desirable to avoid reading too much
into it.

On the one hand, prudence does involve the checking of one interest in
consequence of the presence of another.  You have noted my interest,
acknowledged it as having its own claims, and made room for it.
Therein your action differs signally from your dealings with your
mechanical environment.  And it is this contact and adjustment of
interests, this practical recognition of the fact that the success of
one interest requires that other interests be respected, and dealt with
in a special manner appropriate to them as interests, that marks the
procedure as moral.  On the other hand, while you have acknowledged my
interest, you have not _adopted_ it.  You have concerned yourself with
my love of property only in so far as it affected your fondness for
apples.  In order to appeal to you I have had to appeal to this, as yet
your only interest.  The moral value of your action lies wholly in its
conduciveness to this interest, because it is controlled wholly by it.
You are as yet only a complex acting consistently in such wise as to
continue an eating of apples.  This formula is entirely sufficient as a
summary of your conduct, even after you have learned to respect my
property.  And therein lies {50} its _merely_ prudential character.  In
prudence thus strictly and abstractly regarded, there is no preference,
no subordination of motives.  Action is controlled by an exclusive and
insistent desire, which limits itself only with a view to effectiveness.


It would appear, then, that if I am to justify those types of action
which are regarded as more completely moral, _I must persuade you to
adopt interests that at any given instant do not move you_.  I must
persuade you to forego your present inclination for the sake of
another; to judge between interests, and prefer that which on grounds
that you cannot reasonably deny is the more valid.  In other words, I
must define a logical transition from prudence to _preference_, or
_moral purpose_.

Let us suppose that, in spite of your liking, apples do not "agree
with" you.  It is, for example, pertinent to remark that if you eat the
apple to-day you cannot go to the play to-morrow.  Our parley proceeds
as follows:

"Just now I am eating apples.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil

"But you acknowledge your fondness for the theatre."

"Yes, but that doesn't interest me now."

"Nevertheless you recognize the interest in {51} play-going as a real
one, dormant to-day, temporarily eclipsed by another interest, but
certain to revive to-morrow?"

"I do."

"And you admit that, apart from the chance of your death in the
meantime, a chance so small as to be negligible, an interest to-morrow
is as real as an interest to-day?"


"Now, recognizing these two interests, and keeping them firmly in view,
observe the consequences of your action if you persist in eating the
apple, and pronounce judgment upon it."

"It would seem to be both good and bad; good in its conduciveness to
the satisfaction of my present appetite, bad in its preventing my
enjoyment of the play."

In your last reply you have fairly stated the problem.  You are not
permitted to escape the dilemma by simply neglecting the facts, for
this would be contrary to the original agreement binding you to be and
remain open-minded.  And you are now as concerned as I to solve the
problem by defining a reorganization of the situation that would permit
of an action unequivocally good, that is altogether conducive to the
fulfilment of interest.

To understand what would constitute a solution of this moral problem it
is important to observe, {52} in the first place, that an action
_wholly conducive to both interests_ would take precedence of an action
which fulfilled the one but sacrificed the other.  Were it possible for
you to eat the apple now and go to the play to-morrow, your rational
course would be to allow your present impulse free play.  You would
thus be alive to the total situation; your action would in reality be
regulated by both interests, or rather by a larger interest embracing
and providing for both.  An action thus controlled would have a more
adequate justification than an action conceived with reference to the
one interest exclusively, and merely happening to be favorable to the
other interest also.  Or suppose that, by substituting a different
species of apple for the one first selected, you could avoid
disagreeable consequences, and without loss of immediate gratification.
In this case you would have corrected your original action and adopted
a course that proved itself better, because conducive to the fulfilment
of to-morrow's interest as well as to-day's.

We have thus arrived at a very important conception, that of a higher
interest possessing a certain priority in its claims.  The higher
interest as I have defined it is simply the greater interest, and
greater in the sense that it exceeds a narrower interest through
embracing it and adding to it.  Your interest in the fulfilment of {53}
to-day's interest _and_ to-morrow's, is demonstrably greater than your
interest in the fulfilment of either exclusively, because it provides
for each and more.  In this perfectly definite sense your preference
may be justified.

Let us now apply this principle of preference to the more complex case
in which there is no available action which will fulfil both interests.
Suppose that you cannot both eat apples to-day and go to the play
to-morrow.  How is one to define a good action in the premises?  In the
first place the good act originally conceived in terms of the free play
of the present impulse is proved to be illusory.  There is no good act
until your interests are reorganized.  In other words, the higher
interest, which is entitled to preference, requires some modification
of the participating interests.  But the higher interest owes its title
to its liberality or comprehensiveness.  Hence it must represent _the
maximum fulfilment of both interests which the conditions allow_.  Such
a controlling interest may require you altogether to forego the present
indulgence, or it may merely require that it be severely limited.  In
any case, the controlling interest will _represent_ both interests,
modified, postponed, or suppressed, as is necessary for their maximum
joint fulfilment.  The higher interest which thus replaces the original
interest, and which is entitled to do so only {54} because it
incorporates them, I propose to call _moral purpose_.

There are two highly important principles which we have been brought to
recognize through this analysis of preference, and it will be worth our
while briefly to resume them.

In the first place, no interest is entitled to your exclusive regard
merely because it happens at any given time to be moving you.  I shall
call this the principle of the objective validity of interests.  I mean
simply that an interest is none the less an interest because it does
not coincide with an individual's momentary inclination.  In reminding
you of an interest overlooked, I have not sought to justify it by
subsuming it under your present interest.  I have not tried to prove
that it is to your interest as an epicure that you should go to the
play.  I have simply pointed out the other interest, and allowed it to
stand on its merits.  In ethical theories of a certain type, and in
much impromptu moralizing, it is assumed that there is no legitimate
appeal except in behalf of interests that are at the instant already
alive.  This is as absurd as to suppose that in order to bring you to
the truth in any purely theoretical matter, I must confine myself to
evidence that you already recognize.  In both cases your individual
experience at any given time may be narrow and limited owing to causes
that are in the highest {55} degree arbitrary.  It may be advisable
that I should solicit your attention by connecting what I have to offer
with what is already familiar to you; but this is a psychological
expedient.  My appeal is logically supported by objects, by principles,
by data which are in no wise dependent for their claims on their
connection with your present stock in trade.

Chesterton refers to one who "had that rational and deliberate
preference which will always to the end trouble the peace of the world,
the rational and deliberate preference for a short life and a merry
one." [7]  I cannot regard such hedonistic opportunism as other than
wantonness or wilful carelessness.  It may be deliberate in the sense
of being consciously persisted in, but I cannot find any rationality in
it.  It arises naturally enough through the greater vividness of the
interests that are already adopted and proved; but all prejudices arise
from such accidents, and they are none the less on that account
absolutely antagonistic to the rational attitude--that willingness that
things should be for me even as they are.

In the second place, it has appeared that there is no demonstrable
priority of one simple interest over another differing only
qualitatively from it.  I propose to call this the principle of _the
quantitative basis of preference_.  I know that the term quantity has
an ugly sound in this context.  {56} But I believe that this is due
simply to a false abstraction.  Two good books are not better than one
because two is better than one, but because in two of a given unit of
goodness there is more of goodness than in one.  Two is more than one,
but not more good, unless that which is counted is itself good.  Nor is
two longer or heavier than one, unless the units numbered happen to be
those of length or weight.  To prefer two interests to one does not
imply that one is a lover of quantity, but a lover of good; of that
which if it be and remain good, the more the better.

At any rate it seems to me a matter of simple candor to admit that
"more" is a term implying quantity, whether it be "more room," "more
weight," "more goodness," or "more beauty."  It seems to me to be
equally evident that "more" implies commensurable magnitude; and that
commensurability implies the existence of a common unit in the terms
compared.  Two inches are more than one inch in that they include one
inch and also another like unit.  Now in moral matters the unit of
value is the fulfilment of the simple interest; and in consequence I
see no way of demonstrating that one such simple interest is more good
than another, as I see no way of demonstrating that one inch is longer
than another.  But I do see that if I can carry a simple interest over
into a compound one, and there both {57} retain it and add to it, I
shall have more--more by what I add.  Such comparison is never a simple
matter, perhaps in any concrete case never wholly conclusive.  But I
can conceive no more important and more clarifying declaration of
principle.  It means that any rational decision as to the precedence of
social ideals, or as to historical progress from good to better, must
be based on width of representation and weight of incentive.


If what I have said thus far has proved convincing to you, this may be
owing to the fact that you have not been called upon to adopt any
interest beyond what are conventionally regarded as your own.  In moral
matters it is customary to attach a certain finality to personal
pronouns.  But there are no terms in common use which have so rough and
loose a meaning, which cover so equivocal and confused an experience;
albeit the necessity and frequency of their use has made them standard
currency and polished them into a sort of deceptive smoothness to the
touch.  There is no term so altogether handy as the term "I," nor is
there any so embarrassed when called on to show its credentials in the
shape of clear and verifiable experience.  If, then, you stand upon
_your_ interests I shall not be convinced, for I shall {58} not know
what you mean.  There is no sense in which you are a finished and
demonstrable fact.  My dealings with you, and this is peculiarly true
of my rational dealings with you, cannot be tested by _you_ in any
absolute or fixed sense, simply because they may _make_ you, as they
may make me.

Let us return to our test case.  You are the epicure, and I am the
proprietor; you seize my apple, and I protest.  But now I no longer
appeal to you merely as one who enjoys eating apples, and warn you that
you are selecting the wrong means of attaining that end.  I simply
inform you that the apple is my property, and that I desire to retain
it.  I appeal to you to respect my wishes, at least to the extent of
non-interference.  If you reply that this is no interest that you
acknowledge, then I am in a position to inform you.  For on no ground
can you attach finality to the set of interests which at any given time
you choose to acknowledge.  If I may remind you of a forgotten
interest, I may inform you of a new interest.  In the one case, you
acknowledge that there is such an interest in that you anticipate its
revival, and realize that its mere absence is no proof of its
non-existence.  You recognize it as having its roots in your organism,
and its opportunity for exercise in certain definable and predictable
circumstances.  This is what you mean when you acknowledge that _you
will desire_ to go to the play {59} to-morrow.  But the evidence of the
existence of still another interest, in this case mine, is no less
convincing.  Like your own latent interest, it does not at the instant
move you.  But it has the specific character of an interest, and its
place in the existent world through its relation to my organism.
Recognizing it as an interest, you cannot in the given case fail to
observe that it qualifies your action as good or bad, through being
affected by it.  If your action fulfils your interest and thwarts mine,
it is again mixed, both good and bad.  In order to define the good act
in the premises it is necessary, as in the previous case, to define a
purpose which shall embrace both interests and regulate action with a
view to their joint fulfilment.

It is customary to argue this principle of impartiality, according to
which the merely personal consideration is declared to be irrelevant to
the determination of moral value, by a critique of _egoism_.  The
_reductio ad absurdum_ of egoism has recently been formulated by G. E.
Moore in as thorough and conclusive a manner as could be desired.[8]
That writer analyzes egoism into a series of propositions all of which
are equivocal, false, or, so far as true, non-egoistic in their
meaning.  I shall reduce Moore's propositions to two, and modify them
to suit my own conception of goodness.


As an egoist you may, in the first place, affirm that _there are no
interests but yours_.  This proposition, however, is manifestly false.
Accept any definition of an interest or desire that you will, and I can
find indefinitely many cases answering your definition and falling
outside the class of those which you claim as your own.  None of these,
if it conforms fully to your definition, is any the less an interest or
desire than the one that happens to be moving you at the instant.
There would be as good ground for saying that your brother was the only
brother, or your book the only book.  Even if you abate the rigor of
the proposition, you cannot escape its essential falsity.  If you
affirm that there are no interests but the interests of _each_, or that
_each_ man's interests are the only interests, you flatly contradict
yourself.  If you affirm that your interests are of superior
importance, that they are exceptional, peculiar, entitled to
pre-eminence--this is virtually equivalent to your original
proposition.  The respect in which your interests seem different from
all others either enters into your definition of interest, in which
case it becomes general; or it is some adventitious circumstance that
does not belong to your interests as such, some accident of proximity
which may have psychological or instrumental importance, but cannot
rightly affect your judgment of good.  For goodness lies in {61} the
objective bearing of your action on such things as interests; precisely
as the diagonal is a line connecting the vertices of opposite angles in
a square, independently of all circumstances that do not affect the
generic character of the square.

In the second place, you may affirm that _for you there are no
interests but your own_.  But this is an equivocal proposition.  It may
mean that _in your opinion_ there are none, in which case you admit the
probable falsity of your judgment through contrasting it with the
consensus of opinion; through attributing it to your narrowness and
false perspective.  Your offering it as your opinion gives the
proposition at best a tentative form; the question of its truth remains
to be adjudicated.  I need only present other interests answering your
description of an interest to prove you mistaken.  And if you were to
generalize your proposition and say that each man thinks his own
interests the only interests, you would be doubly wrong, in that the
generalization would be unwarranted, and the opinion imputed to each
man false.

Or, your claim that for you there are no interests but your own, might
be taken to mean that in some sense you must confine your endeavors to
the fulfilment of your own interests.  Otherwise, you may argue, the
practical situation would {62} reach a dead-lock, a state of hopeless
confusion in which each individual neglected his own proper affairs for
the sake of those he had neither the means nor the competence to serve.
Now this is indisputably true, but it is not egoism.  The judgment that
each individual must labor where he may do so most effectively, that he
must assume not only a general responsibility for all interests
affected by his action, but also a special responsibility for those
with whose direct execution he is charged, is an impartial judgment.
It expresses a broad and intelligent view of the total situation.  In
the fable of the fox and the grapes, the action of the fox is due to
the folly of a too fluent attention.  Similarly, he who lets go his
present hold of the web of interests simply because his eye happens to
alight on another vantage-point, is as much the blind slave of novelty
as the self-centred man is of familiarity.  In both cases the fault is
one of narrowness of range, of arbitrary exclusion.

Egoists, then, are guilty of a kind of stupid provinciality.  They are
like those closet-philosophers whom Locke describes.

The truth is, they canton out to themselves a little Goshen in the
intellectual world, where light shines and as they conclude, day
blesses them; but the rest of that vast expansum they give up to night
and darkness, and so avoid coming near it.  They have a pretty traffic
with known correspondents, in some little {63} creek; within that they
confine themselves, and are dexterous managers enough of the wares and
products of that corner with which they content themselves, but will
not venture out into the great ocean of knowledge, to survey the riches
that nature hath stored other parts with, no less genuine, no less
solid, no less useful than what has fallen to their lot, in the admired
plenty and sufficiency of their own little spot, which to them contains
whatsoever is good in the universe.[9]

The impartial or judicial estimate of value is properly recognized as
essential to the meaning of _justice_.  I do not here refer to justice
in the more narrow and familiar sense.  Retributive justice, or justice
in any of its special legal aspects, is a political rather than an
ethical matter.[10]  But political justice must be based on ethical
justice.  And to the definition of this fundamental principle some
contribution has now been made.  There is a parody of justice, a
justice of condescension, that the principles already defined do
discredit.  For it has sometimes been thought that justice required
only a deliberate estimate of interests by those best qualified to
judge, as though the settlement of moral issues were a matter of
connoisseurship.  The viciousness of this conception lies in the fact
that qualitatively regarded there is no superiority or inferiority
among interests.  The relish of caviare is no better, no worse, than
the relish of bread.  Preference among interests must be based on their
difference {64} of representation, or their difference of
compatibility.  A wide and safe interest is better than a narrow and
mischievous interest, better for its liberality.  It follows that no
interest can be condemned except upon grounds that recognize its
claims, and aim so far as possible to provide for it among the rest.
No interest can rationally be rejected as having no value, but only as
involving too great a cost.

But though these considerations are sufficient to expose moral
snobbery, they do not fully define justice.  For justice imputes a
certain inviolability to the claims of that unit of life which we term
loosely a human, personal, moral, free, or rational being.  There is
some sense in which you are a finality; making it improper for me
simply to dispose of you, even if it be my sincere intention to promote
thereby the well-being of humanity.  You are not merely one interest
among the rest, to be counted, adjusted, or suppressed by some court of
moral appraisement.  I think I may safely assume that there is to-day
an established conscience supporting Kant's dictum, "So act as to treat
humanity, whether in thine own person or in that of any other, in every
case as an end withal, never as means only." [11]

Let me state briefly what appears to me to be the proper basis of this
judgment.  I have said that I am not entitled simply to suppress your
{65} action as may be approved by my own judgment.  Now, did I propose
to do so, what justification should I offer?  I should present, no
doubt, the facts in the case.  I should show you the incompatibility of
your presently adopted course with the general good.  But let us
suppose that you defend your action on the same grounds.  In that case
your endorsement of your action has precisely the same formal
justification as my condemnation of it.  Our equality lies in the fact
that we are both claiming candidly to represent the truth.  In the last
analysis our equality is based on the identity of the objective content
to which we appeal.  As witnesses of a specific truth within the range
of both, the meanest mortal alive and the omniscient intelligence are
equal; and simply because the identical truth is as valid in the mouth
of one as in the mouth of the other.  Where it is a matter of
disagreement between you and me, our equality lies in the fact that
neither can do more than appeal to the object.  Neither has any
authority; there _is_ no authority in matters of truth, but only
evidence.  The only rational solution of disagreement is agreement;
that is, the coalescence of opinions in the common object to which they
refer and toward which they converge.  The method of approximating
agreement is discussion; which is the attempt of each of two knowers to
avail himself of all the organs {66} and instruments of knowledge
possessed by the other.  Discussion involves mutual respect, in which
each party acknowledges the finality of the other as a vehicle of
truth.  This, I believe, is that moral equality, that dignity and
ultimate responsibility attaching to all rational beings alike, without
which justice cannot be fulfilled.

Justice, then, embraces these two ideas.  In the first place, in
estimating the goodness or evil of action, merely personal or party
connections must not be admitted in evidence.  In the second place, the
deliberate judgment of any rationally minded individual is entitled to
respect as a source of truth.  Conflict must in the last analysis be
overcome by the congruence of impartial minds.  Hence the justification
of reciprocal respect among persons who think honestly; and of a public
forum to which all shall have access, and where business shall be
transacted under the vigilant eye of him who is most concerned.  A
candid mind is the last court of jurisdiction.  So long as the
procedure of society is questioned or resented by one honest
conscience, it is lacking in complete verification, and its findings
are open to doubt.



Enough has already been said to show that the goodness of action must
be determined with reference to nothing less than the totality of all
affected interests.  For this highest principle I have reserved the
honored term, _good-will_.  Neither you nor I can reasonably decline to
consider the bearing of our actions on any interest whatsoever.  Right
conduct, since it is inconsistent with the least ruthlessness, must
inevitably in the end assume the form of humanity and piety.

I know that it is not customary to suppose that devotion to the service
of mankind is rational; it is taken to be gratuitous, if not quixotic.
But once let it be granted that goodness accrues to action in
proportion to its fruitfulness, it follows that that action is most
blessed that is dedicated without reservation to the general life.
There is only one course which can recommend itself to that fair and
open mind to which I conceive myself to be addressing this appeal:
namely, so to act in fulfilment of the interest in hand, as either to
promote or make room for all other interests.

And this is true not only of such interests as may be assumed to exist,
as constitute one's present neighborhood, near and remote; it is also
true of interests that are as yet only potentialities, defined by the
capacity of living things {68} to grow.  If it be unreasonable to
neglect the bearing of one's action on interests which one happens not
to be familiar with, it is unreasonable to neglect its bearing on
interests not yet asserted, wherever there is a presumption that such
may come to be.  In other words, one's moral account cannot be made up
without a provision for entries that have yet to be made.  Such a
provision will take the form of a purpose to grow, an ardent spirit of
liberality, an eagerness for novelty.  Good-will builds better than it
knows; it is open toward the future; committed to a task which requires
foresight and also faith.  But such devotion, with all its
extravagance, with its very reverence for what is not known but must
nevertheless be accounted best, is only, after all, the part of
fearless good sense.  If anything be good, and if it be reasonable to
pursue it, then is the maximum of that thing the _best_, and the
pursuit of it _wholly_ reasonable.

It may even be said that thrift is only a lesser form of piety, and
piety the whole of thrift.  For, first and last, goodness lies in the
saving and increase of life.  The justification of any act lies in its
being provident; in its yield of immediate fulfilment and its generous
allowance for the other interest, the remote interest, and the interest
that is as yet only surmised.  The good will is the will to participate
productively, permissively, {69} and formally in the total undertaking
of life.  Only when this intention controls one's decisions can one act
without fear of one's own critical reflection.


Let me add a word concerning the part played by the imagination in
enforcing the logic of morality.  An enlightened conscience, or a
rational conviction of duty, will consist essentially in the viewing of
life with a certain remove from its local incidents.  In conduct, as in
all matters where validity or truth is concerned, the critical
consciousness must disengage itself and view the course of things in
its due proportions, allowing one's dearest interests to lie where they
lie among the rest.  I have read so admirable a representation of the
moral function of the logical imagination in a recent paper by H. G.
Lord, that I beg leave to quote it here in full:

As between one's self and another "the image of an impartial outsider
who acts as our judge" is none other than this rational insight into
the relation existing between two who are cognitively to each other
just this and not anything else.  It is the vision of the actual
reciprocity of the two.  From this comes the Golden Rule in its various
forms: "Love thy neighbor as thyself," "Do unto others as ye would be
done by," "Put yourself in his place."  But, furthermore, even this
simpler justice necessitates the power not only to "see yourself as
others see {70} you," but even more adequately, and as we say more
justly, to put yourself where you belong in a system of many, in which
you not only count for one and no more than one, but in which you count
for just that sort of one, fulfilling just that sort of function which
your place in the rationally conceived system involves or necessitates.
And this gives us a form of justice much more profound and complex than
that of the Golden Rule, and requiring constructive imagination and
rational insight of the very highest order.  And with this insight goes
necessarily an inevitableness, an inexorableness, and, as we say
metaphorically, an imperativeness, which no amount of twisting and
intellectual thimble-rigging can avoid.  The logic of the system cannot
be avoided any more than a step in a mathematical demonstration. . . .
So long as it stands, its parts, elements, or members are _placed_, and
there is set over each of them the imperative of the system in which
they are members.[12]

It has sometimes been thought that a fair view of life will inhibit
action through discrediting party zeal.  John Davidson describes what
he calls "the apathy of intelligence."

To be strong to the end, it is necessary to shut many windows, to be
deaf on either side of the head at will, to fetter the mind. . . .  The
perfect intelligence cannot fight, cannot compete.  Intelligence, fully
awake, is doomed to understand, and can no more take part in the
disputes of men than in the disputes of other male creatures.[13]

Now it is true that intelligence inhibits wantonness; for intelligence,
fully awake, knows how unreasonable it is that one who loves life
should {71} destroy it.  But because intelligence affirms the motive of
each combatant, it must move action to the saving of both.  Where
intelligence is directed to the inner impulse of life, it is not
apathetic, but sympathetic.  Its span is widened, while its incentive
is not divided but multiplied.

Nor does it follow that when duty is interpreted as enlightenment, life
must lose its romantic flavor and cease to require the old
high-spirited virtues.  It is this very linking of life to life, this
abandonment of one's self to the prodigious of the whole, that provides
the true object of reverence, and permits the sense of mystery to
remain even after the light has come.  Although the way of morality is
evident and well-proved in direction, being plain to whomever will look
at life with a fair and commanding eye, achievement is difficult, the
great victories hard won, and the certain prospect bounded by a near
horizon.  Even though life be rationalized, it will none the less call
for intrepid faith; for what Maeterlinck calls "the heroic,
cloud-tipped, indefatigable energy of our conscience." [14]





We have thus far dealt with the general content of morality, and with
its logical grounds.  Morality is only life where life is organized and
confident, the struggle for mere existence being replaced with the
prospect of a progressive and limitless attainment.  The good is
fulfilled desire; the moral good the fulfilment of a universal economy,
embracing all desires, actual and possible, and providing for them as
liberally as their mutual relations permit.  The moral good is simply
the greatest possible good, where good in the broad generic sense means
any object of interest whatsoever, anything proved worth the seeking
from the fact that some unit of life actually seeks it.  Whatever is
prized is on that account precious.

The logic of morality rests on this objective relation between interest
and value.  The maximum good has the greatest weight, its claims are
entitled to priority, because it surpasses any limited good in
incentive and promise of fulfilment.  Duty in this logical sense is
simply to {73} control of particular actions by a full recognition of
their consequences.

In the present chapter the attention is shifted from the whole to the
parts of morality.  I am not one of those who stake much on the
casuistical application of ethical principles.  Every particular action
virtually involves considerations of enormous complexity; and the
individual must be mainly guided by general rules of conduct or
virtues, which are proved by the cumulative experience of the race.
Life itself is the only adequate experiment in living.  Virtues are
properly verified only in the history of society, in the development of
institutions, and in the evidences of progress in civilization at
large.  I shall confine myself, then, to such verified virtues, and
seek to show their relation to morality as a whole.[1]

Virtues vary in generality according to the degree to which they refer
to special circumstance; and, since there is no limit to the variety of
circumstance, there is, strictly speaking, no final and comprehensive
order of virtues.  The term may be applied with equal propriety to
types of action as universal as justice and as particular as conjugal
fidelity.  We shall find it necessary to confine ourselves to the more
general and fundamental virtues.

I have adopted a method of classification to which I attach no absolute
importance, but which {74} will, I trust, serve to amplify and
illuminate the fundamental conceptions which I have already formulated.
I shall aim, in the first place, to make explicit a distinction which
has hitherto been obscured.  I refer to the difference between the
_material_ and the _formal_ aspects of morality.  On the one hand,
action is always engaged in the fulfilment of an immediate interest;
this constitutes its material goodness.  On the other hand, every moral
action is limited or regulated by the provision which it makes for
ulterior interests; this constitutes its formal goodness.  Let me make
this difference more clear.

A particular action is invariably connected with a particular interest;
and in so far as it is successful it will thus be directly fruitful of
fulfilment.  And it matters not how broad a purpose constitutes its
ultimate motive; for purposes can be served only through a variety of
activities, each of which will have its proximate interest and its own
continuous yield of satisfaction.  Life pays as it goes, even though it
goes to the length of serving humanity at large, and the larger
enterprises owe their very justification to this additive and
cumulative principle.

But if action is to be moral it must always look beyond the present
satisfaction.  It must submit to such checks as are necessary for the
realization of a greater good.  Indeed, action is not wholly {75} good
until it is controlled with reference to the fulfilment of the totality
of interests.

It follows, then, that every action may be judged in two respects:
first, in respect of its immediate return of fulfilment; second, in
respect of its bearing on all residual interests.  Every good action
will be both profitable and safe; both self-sustaining and also
serviceable to the whole.

The necessity of determining the relative weight which is to be given
to these two considerations accounts for the peculiar delicacy of the
art of life, since it makes almost inevitable either the one or the
other of two opposite errors of exaggeration.  The _undue assertion of
the present-interest_ constitutes materialism, in the moral sense.
Materialism is a forfeiture of greater good through preoccupation with
nearer good.  It appears in an individual's neglect of his fellow's
interest, in his too easy satisfaction with good already attained, in
short-sighted policy on any scale.  Formalism, on the other hand,
signifies the _improvident exaggeration of ulterior motives_.  It is
due to a misapprehension concerning the relation between higher and
lower interests.  I have sought to make it clear that higher interests
owe their eminence, not to any intrinsic quality of their own, but to
the fact that they save and promote lower interests.  Formalism is the
{76} rejection of lower interests in the name of some good that without
these interests is nothing.

The conflict between the material and formal motives in life is present
in every moral crisis, and qualifies the meaning of every moral idea.
It may even provoke a social revolution, as in the case of the Puritan
revolution in England.  The Puritan is still the symbol of moral rigor
and sobriety, as the Cavalier is the symbol of the love of life.  The
full meaning of morality tends constantly to be confused through
identifying it exclusively with the one or the other of these motives.
Thus morality has come, on the whole, to be associated with constraint
and discipline, in both a favorable and a disparaging sense.  This has
led to its being rejected as a falsification of life by those who
insist that every good thing is free and fair and pleasant.  And, even
among those who recognize the vital necessity of discipline, morality
is so narrowed to that component, that it commonly suggests only those
scruples and inhibitions which destroy the spontaneity and
whole-heartedness of every activity.

That morality should tend to be identified with its formal rather than
its material aspect is not strange; for it is the formal motive which
is critical and corrective, substituting a conscious reconstruction of
interests for their initial movement.  It is this fact which gives to
duty that {77} sense of compulsion which is so invariably associated
with it.  Duty is opposed to the line of least resistance, whenever
life is dominated by any motive short of the absolute good-will.  Thus
among the Greeks, _dikê_ is opposed to _bia_.[2]  This means simply
that because the principles of social organization are not as yet
thoroughly assimilated, their adoption requires attention and effort.
And a similar opposition may appear at either a higher or lower level,
between the momentary impulse and the law of prudence, or between the
habit of worldliness and the law of piety.

In connection with this broad difference between the material and
formal aspects of life, it is interesting to observe a certain
difference of leniency in the popular judgment.  Materialism is more
heartily condemned, because he who is guilty of it is not alive to the
general good.  He is morally unregenerate.  Formalism, on the other
hand, is good-hearted or well-intentioned.  He who is guilty of it may
be ridiculed as unpractical, or pitied for his misguided zeal; but
society rarely offers to chastise him.  For he has submitted to
discipline, and if he is not the friend of man, it is not because of
any profit that he has reserved for himself.

In the arrangement which follows I shall use this difference between
the material and formal {78} aspects of morality to supplement the main
principle of classification, which is that difference of level or
range, of which I have already made some use in the previous chapter,
and which I shall now define more precisely.  In morality life is so
organized as to provide for interests as liberally and comprehensively
as possible.  But the principles through which such organization is
effected will differ in the degree to which they accomplish that end.
Hence it is possible to define several economies or stages of
organization which are successively more complete.  The _simple
interest_, first, is the isolated interest, pursued regardlessly of
other interests; in other words, not as yet brought under the form of
morality.  The _reciprocity of interests_, represents that rudimentary
form of morality in which interests enter only into an external
relation, through which they secure an exchange of benefits without
abandoning their independence.  In the _incorporation of interests_,
elementary interests are unified through a purpose which subordinates
and regulates them.  The _fraternity of interests_, is that
organization in which the rational or personal unit of interest is
recognized as final, and respected wherever it is met.  But there must
also be some last economy, in which provision is formally made for any
interest whatsoever that may assert itself.  This is the realm of {79}
good-will, or, as I shall call it for the sake of symmetry, the
_universal system of interests_.  I shall so construe these economies
as to make the broader or more inclusive comprehend the narrower.

Now each of these economies possesses its characteristic principle of
organization, or typical mode of action; and this enables us to define
five prime virtues: _intelligence, prudence, purpose, justice,_ and
_good-will_.  From each of these virtues there accrues to life a
characteristic benefit: from intelligence, _satisfaction_; from
prudence, _health_; from purpose, _achievement_; from justice,
_rational intercourse_; and from good-will, _religion_.  The absence of
these virtues defines a group of negative vices: _incapacity,
imprudence, aimlessness, injustice,_ and _irreverence_.  Finally,
applying the distinction between formalism and materialism, we obtain
two further series of vices; for, with two exceptions, it is possible
in each economy either to exaggerate the principle of organization, and
thus neglect the constituent interests which it is intended to
organize; or to exaggerate the good attained, and thus neglect the
wider spheres beyond.  There will thus be a formalistic series of
errors: _asceticism, sentimentalism, anarchism, mysticism_; and a
materialistic series: _overindulgence, sordidness, bigotry_ or _egoism,
worldliness_.  Since materialism is in each case due to the lack of the
next higher {80} principle of organization, there is no real difference
between the materialism of one economy and the negative vice of the
next.  But I have thought it worth while to retain both series, because
they represent a difference of emphasis which it is customary to make.
Thus there is no real difference between overindulgence and imprudence;
but one refers to the excess, and the other to the deficiency, in an
activity which is excessive in its fulfilment of a present interest,
and deficient in its regard for ulterior interests.

I have thought it best for the purpose of clear presentation to
tabulate these virtues and vices; and it proves convenient, also, to
adopt a fixed nomenclature.  It is unfortunate that the terms must be
drawn from common speech; for it is impossible that the meaning
assigned to them in the course of a methodical analysis like the
present, should exactly coincide with that which they have acquired in
their looser application to daily life.  But I shall endeavor always to
make plain the sense in which I use them; and, thus guarded, they will
serve to mark out a series of special topics which it is important
briefly to review.



  Simple      Intelli-   Satis-    Incapacity   ------     Over-
   Interest    gence      faction                           indulgence

  Recipro-    Prudence   Health    Imprudence   Ascet-     Sordidness
   city of                                       icism

  Incorpor-   Purpose    Achieve-  Aimless-     Sentiment- Bigotry
   ation of               ment      ness         alism      Egoism

  Fraternity  Justice    Rational  Injustice    Anarchism  Worldliness
   of                     Inter-
   Interests              course

  Universal   Good-Will  Religion  Irreverence  Mysticism  ------
   System of



We have already had occasion to remark that no moral value attaches to
the successes and failures of the isolated or _simple interest_.  Thus
it is customary not to apply judgments of approval or condemnation to
the vicissitudes of animal life.  So wholesale a generalization is
undoubtedly false; but at any rate it is based on the supposition that
the motive in animal life is always simple.  And similarly, whenever
human action is regarded only with reference to the impulse it
immediately serves, it is judged to be successful or futile, but never
right or wrong.  These properties are reserved for such action as is
controlled, or is capable of being controlled, with reference both to
an immediate and also an ulterior interest.  But since the difference
between goodness in the wider generic sense and goodness in the moral
sense is one of complexity, it is proper and illuminating to bring them
into one orderly progression.

The _root-value_, then, of which all the higher moral values are
compounded, is the fulfilment or satisfaction of the particular
interest.  This fundamental value is conditioned by a form of
organization, which I propose in a restricted sense to term
intelligence.  I mean the capacity which every living interest must
possess to {83} utilize the environment, to turn it to its own
advantage.  This is the distinguishing and essential capacity of life
in every form.  A plant can continue to exist, and a sculptor can model
a statue, only through being so organized as to be able to assimilate
what the environment offers.  Whether it be called tropism or
technique, it is all one.  Intelligence in this sense may be said to be
the elementary virtue, conditioning success on every plane of activity.

In using such terms as "satisfaction" and "success" interchangeably
with so irreproachable a term as "fulfilment," I may, until my meaning
is wholly clear, seem to degrade morality.  But the tone of
disparagement in these first two terms is due to their having acquired
certain arbitrary associations.  It is supposed that to be satisfied is
to be complacent, and that to be successful is to be hard and worldly.
Now, a narrow satisfaction and a blind success are morally evil; but
satisfaction and success may be taken up into a life that is wholly
wise and devoted.  They will, in fact, constitute the real body of
value in any practical enterprise, from the least to the greatest.

The absence of intelligence, which I shall term _incapacity_, is the
one absolutely fatal defect from which life may suffer.  Incapacity
embraces maladaptation, dulness, feebleness, {84} sickness, and death.
Like its opposite it does not enter into the moral account except in so
far as it affects a group of interests, through being prejudicial to an
individual's efficiency or a community's welfare; but it will impair
and annul attainment upon any plane.  The fault of incapacity attaches
not only to life that is rudimentary or defective, but also to the
mechanical processes which have not been assimilated to any interest
and thus lie outside the realm of value.  Incapacity in this sense is
that metaphysical evil of which philosophers speak.  It testifies to
the fact that the cosmos is only partially subject to judgments either
of good or of evil; that value has a genesis and a history within an
environment that is at best plastic and progressively submissive.

In terms of intelligence and incapacity, the basal excellence and the
basal fault, it is possible to define that whole affair of which
morality is the constructive phase: the attempt of life to establish
itself in the midst of primordial lifelessness, to avert dissolution
and death, and to extend and amplify itself to the uttermost.

Within the economy of the simple interest there is no possibility of
formalism, since there is no subordination of interest to anything
higher than itself.  But we meet here with materialism in its purest
form.  _Overindulgence_ is the fault {85} which attaches to the
exclusive insistence of the isolated interest on itself; when it grows
head-strong, and is like to defeat itself through being blindly

The evil of overindulgence arises from two natural causes.  In the
first place an interest is essentially self-perpetuating; in spite of
periodic moments of satiety, an interest fulfilled is renewed and
accelerated.  Just in so far as it is clearly distinguished it
possesses an impetus of its own, by which it tends to excess, until
corrected by the protest of some other interest which it infringes.
Overindulgence is most common where such consequences are delayed or
obscured by artificial means; hence its prevalence among those who can
afford for a time to dissipate their strength, or have some means of
replenishing it.  And imprudence is common where the penalty is
insidious.  The corruption entailed by gluttony, inebriety, and
incontinence may be slow and doubtful, or apparently remitted in
moments of recovery; but if one indulge himself in foolhardiness or
violence, he is like to be repaid on the spot.  Hence the latter forms
of imprudence are more rare.  To avoid imprudence, it is necessary to
discount that aspect which the interest wears within the period of its
immediate fulfilment, and thus avoid the necessity of repeating the
hard and wasteful lesson of experience.  This {86} truth, which is the
first principle of all practical wisdom, has been graphically
represented in Jeremy Taylor's _Rules and Exercises of Holy Living_:

Look upon pleasures not upon that side that is next the sun, or where
they look beauteously, that is, as they come towards you to be enjoyed;
for then they paint and smile, and dress themselves up in tinsel and
glass gems and counterfeit imagery; but when thou hast rifled and
discomposed them with enjoying their false beauties, and that they
begin to go off, then behold them in their nakedness and weariness.
See what a sigh and sorrow, what naked and unhandsome proportions and a
filthy carcass they discover; and the next time they counterfeit,
remember what you have already discovered, and be no more abused.[3]

There is a second source of overindulgence, in the ever-increasing
complexity of the moral economy.  The more numerous the interests; the
more difficult the task of attending to their connections and managing
their adjustment.  Not only is the need of prudence never outgrown; it
steadily acquires both a greater urgency and a greater difficulty.

If incapacity may be said to be the metaphysical evil, the taint of the
cosmos at large, overindulgence may be said to be the original sin, the
taint of life itself.  It is life's offence against itself, the denial
of greater life for the sake of the little in hand.  It is the
perennial failure of the {87} individual interest to unite itself with
that universal enterprise of which it is the microcosmic image.


The simplest _moral_ economy is that in which two or more interests are
_reciprocally adjusted_ without being subordinated.  The principle of
organization which defines such an economy is _prudence_.  Prudence
becomes necessary at the moment when interests come into such contact
with one another as provokes retaliation.  Thus, for example, interests
react on one another through being embodied in the same physical
organism.  Each bodily activity depends on the well-being of
co-ordinate functions, and if its exercise be so immoderate as to
injure these, it undermines itself.  _Moderation_ gains for special
interests the support of a general bodily health.

But bodily health is not the only medium of interdependence among the
interests of a single individual.  His interests must draw not only
upon a common source of vitality, but also upon a common stock of
material resources.  The limitation of interests that follows from this
fact is frugality or _thrift_, the practical working of the principle
that present waste is future lack, and that, therefore, to save now is
to spend hereafter.  Thrift involves also a special emphasis on {88}
livelihood, since this is a source of supply for all particular

The social relation makes interests externally interdependent in a
great variety of ways.  Interests must inhabit one space, exploit one
physical environment, and employ a common mode of communication.  If
any interest so acts as unduly to divert one of these mediums to its
own uses, it must suffer retaliation from the other interests that
likewise depend on that medium.  It is prudent to give even one's rival
half the road, and to divide the spoils with him.  There is a politic
form of _honesty_; and _veracity_ may be conceived only as a kind of
caution.  Thus Menander says: "It is always best to speak the truth in
all circumstances.  This is a precept which contributes most to safety
of life." [4]  _Tact_ is only a more refined method of avoiding the
antagonism of interests that operate within the same field of social

The economy of prudence has its own characteristic value.  Indeed, if
this were not so there would be no possibility of that form of baseness
known as being _merely_ prudent.  There is a prudential equilibrium; a
condition of smooth and harmonious adjustment, within the personal life
or the community.  I propose that this equilibrium be termed _health_.
In that admirable idealization of renaissance morality, Castiglione's
{89} _Book of the Courtier_, the author refers to the immediate reward
of self-control that comes both from inner harmony and the approbation
of one's fellows.  To instil goodness into the mind, "to teach
continence, fortitude, justice, temperance," Castiglione would give his
prince "a taste of how much sweetness is hidden by the little
bitterness that at first sight appears to him, who withstands vice;
which is always hurtful and displeasing, and accompanied by infamy and
blame, just as virtue is profitable, blithe, and full of praise." [5]

Socially, the healthful equilibrium corresponds to that "peace" which
Hobbes praised above all things;[6] and which is all that is asked for
by those who wish to be let alone in order that they may pursue their
own affairs.  Although such peace may be ignominious, it need not be
so; and a sense of security and reciprocal adjustment must remain among
the surviving values, whatever higher achievements be added to it.  But
the inherent value of health is most clearly defined by a nice
equilibration of activities within the medium of the individual
organism.  I borrow the following description of health in this sense
from a recent book by H. G. Wells:

The balance as between asceticism and sensuality comes in, it seems to
me, if we remember that to drink well one must not have drunken for
some time, {90} that to see well one's eye must be clear, that to make
love well one must be fit and gracious and sweet and disciplined from
top to toe, that the finest sense of all--the joyous sense of bodily
well-being--comes only with exercises and restraints and fine living.[7]

The temperance praised by the Greeks is of like quality, with a further
reference to the reasonableness which it fosters.  A prudence which is
mastered, which has become a spontaneity, delivers reason from bondage,
and makes the whole of life easily conformable to it.  Thus
Castiglione, who is so often reminiscent of Plato and Aristotle, draws
a contrast between continence, as the "conquest" of prudence, and
temperance as its "beneficent rule."

Thus this virtue does not compel the mind, but infusing it by very
gentle means with a vehement belief that inclines it to righteousness,
renders it calm and full of rest, in all things equal and well
measured, and disposed on every side by a certain self-accord which
adorns it with a tranquillity so serene that it is never ruffled, and
becomes in all things very obedient to reason and ready to turn its
every act thereto and to follow wherever reason may wish to lead it,
without the least unwillingness.[8]

Such is that prudence which, though rich in its own right, is
nevertheless subordinate to greater good.

It is proper to regard prudence as inferior in principle to purpose and
good-will, or even as ignoble when confirmed in its narrowness.  It
{91} denotes an organization of life in which as yet no interest has
risen above the rest; it bespeaks the common populace of interests,
disciplined, but not moved to any eminent achievement.  The fact that
the validity of the principle of prudence is so readily granted is
significant of this.  Prudence requires no interest to be other than
itself, but meets it on its own ground.  There is no elevation of

But prudence is the first and most instructive lesson in morality.  It
has a peculiar impressiveness, not only because it is so promptly and
unmistakably verified, but because it is so close to life.  Its meaning
is unlikely to be obscured through being abstracted from the real
interests whose saving is the proof of its virtue.  Furthermore,
although prudence is not the highest principle in life, it is a mistake
to suppose that it is therefore unnecessary in the highest spheres of
life.  There is a problem of prudence that underlies every practical
problem whatsoever.  If interests are to be organized they must be not
only subordinated but also co-ordinated, that is, adjusted within every
medium in which they meet.  Without moderation, caution, self-control,
thrift, and tact there is no serving man or God.  As life increases in
complexity it is easy to forget these basal precepts.  Nature has
provided a model, both simple and fundamental, in physical health.
{92} "The body," says Burke, "is wiser in its own plain way, and
attends its own business more directly than the mind with all its
boasted subtilty." [9]

The prudential organization of life furnishes the first type of
_formalism_.  Prudence requires that the interest shall be limited in
order that it may not antagonize other interests and thus indirectly
defeat itself.  Discipline is justified, in other words, by its fruits.
But discipline involves an initial moment of negation, in which the
movement of the interest is resisted.  It must be checked, and its
headway overcome, if it is to be redirected.  The exaggeration of this
moment of negation, or a steady persistence in it, is _asceticism_.
Its fault lies in its emptiness, in its destruction or perversion of
that which it was designed only to protect against itself.

Asceticism appears most frequently as a subordinate motive in some
general condemnation of the world on religious grounds, and must
receive further consideration in that connection.  Its proper meaning
as a purely prudential formalism is best exhibited in the Greek Cynics.
These philosophers were moved to mortify the flesh, and to deny their
social interests, by extreme caution.  They discovered that the safest
method of adjustment was simplification.  If one permits one's self no
desires, one need not suffer {93} from their conflict, nor need one
treat with the desires of others.  Now this would be a very perfect
solution of the problem of adjustment, if only there were something
left to adjust.  If a Cynic can attain to a state of renunciation in
which he wants nothing, he will be sure of having what he wants; only,
unfortunately, it will be nothing.  Epictetus has thus represented the
Cynic's boast:

Look at me, who am without a city, without a house, without
possessions, without a slave; I sleep on the ground; I have no wife, no
children, no praetorium, but only the earth and heavens, and one poor
cloak.  And what do I want? am I not without sorrow?  Am I not without
fear?  Am I not free?

Now it is clear that the sum of the Cynics' attainments is not large.
It consists, indeed, almost wholly in a certain hardened complacency,
and a freedom to make faces at the world.  To the onlooker, whose
comment Epictetus also records, their aspect is mean:

No: but their characteristic is the little wallet, and staff, and great
jaws; the devouring of all that you give them, or storing it up, or the
abusing unseasonably all whom they meet, or displaying their shoulder
as a fine thing.[10]

In other words, since the Cynic continues to live after having rejected
the proper instruments and forms of life, he must make a living out of
the charitable curiosity excited by his very unfitness.  {94} And
asceticism of this prudential type tends always to be both empty and
monstrous; empty because it denies life, and monstrous because life is
not really denied, but only perverted and awkwardly obstructed.

There is a materialistic evil corresponding to the prudential
organization of life which is known as meanness, vulgarity, or
_sordidness_.  It denotes a failure to recognize anything better than
the fulfilment of the simple interests in their severalty.  Although
guarded and adjusted these still determine the general tone of life.
The controlling motive, the standard of attainment, is never anything
higher than the elementary desire with its attendant satisfaction.  In
its negative aspect this is termed _aimlessness_, and is identical with
the Christian vice of idleness, so graphically described by Jeremy

Idleness is called _the sin of Sodom and her daughters_, and indeed is
_the burial of a living man_, an idle person being so useless to any
purposes of God and man, that he is like one that is dead, unconcerned
in the changes and necessities of the world; and he only lives to spend
his time, and eat the fruits of the earth: like a vermin or a wolf,
when their time comes they die and perish, and in the meantime do no
good; they neither plough nor carry burdens; all they do is either
unprofitable or mischievous.[11]

Thus aimlessness denotes a failure to attain anything of worth; a lack
of consecutiveness and {95} unity.  The correction of this fault lies
in a new principle of organization.


This new principle of organization consists in the _incorporation of
interests_, that is, their subordination to a _purpose_ that embraces
them, unifies them, and carries the whole to a successful issue.  The
incorporation of interests is peculiarly an intellectual process.  It
is this to which Socrates refers when he says that _knowledge is
virtue_.  Purpose requires, in the first place, that one should define
and foresee the end, and in the second place, that one should be
sagacious and watchful in the service of it.  Purpose is the virtue of
the understanding, of a mind which is adventurous enough to project an
enterprise, but has enough of home-keeping wit to judge nicely of cause
and effect or of part and whole.

There are many virtues which contribute to purpose, and of these none
is more indispensable than _patience_, or the capacity to labor without
hire for a prize deferred.  "Better is the end of a thing," says the
Preacher, "than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is
better than the proud in spirit."  Steadiness of purpose under adverse
or confusing circumstances is called _persistence, courage, loyalty,_
or _zeal_, with {96} differences of meaning that reflect the nature
either of the purpose or the circumstances.

But since purpose is so much an intellectual virtue, special importance
attaches in this economy to _truthfulness_.  If one's purpose be some
form of personal achievement, one must deal honestly with one's self.
And this is not easily done.  Epictetus told his pupils that men were
loath to admit any fault that they held to be really blameworthy:

Some things men readily confess, and other things they do not.  No one
then will confess that he is a fool or without understanding; but quite
the contrary you will hear all men saying, I wish that I had fortune
equal to my understanding.  But men readily confess that they are
timid, and they say: I am rather timid, I confess; but as to other
respects you will not find me to be foolish.  A man will not readily
confess that he is intemperate; and that he is unjust, he will not
confess at all.  He will by no means confess that he is envious or a
busybody.  Most men will confess that they are compassionate.[12]

Now if one is to attain anything difficult, he cannot afford to indulge
in vanity or self-satisfaction; for action can be kept true to its end
only when the least obliquity is marked and corrected.  Hence the
strong man does not attribute his failure to fortune or to his amiable
virtues, but to his folly; for he knows that to be the crucial fault
which it lies within his power to remedy.  On the other hand, if the
purpose be one {97} which involves the co-operation of several persons,
it is necessary that these should deal openly and candidly with one
another.  Truthfulness is a condition of any collective undertaking.
It is interesting to observe the growing recognition of the need of
publicity wherever democratic institutions prevail.  Secrecy is a sort
of treason.  If men are to work together for their common welfare they
must be truly in touch with one another; otherwise there is a spy at
their councils, an incalculable force that may counterwork their plans.

_Achievement_, the value which the virtue of purpose conditions, needs
no moralist's justification.  The world never tires of praising it, for
it is the world's business.  By achievement I mean the fulfilment by
subordinated and cumulative effort of an interest deliberately adopted
for its greatness of value.  Life is now controlled not by the accident
of desire, but by the due preference of the better.  It has begun to be
rational not only in its method, but also in its aim.  It is now more
fruitful, because more broadly conceived, being engaged in enterprises
which continue, and which draw from many sources.  Hence a man can
better endure the spectacle of his own life, for it seems not to be
wholly mean or ineffectual.  In that his conduct is unified,
consistent, and directed to some worthy {98} end, he is possessed of
that quality of character which is respected in him both by himself and
by his fellows.

It is unfortunate that there is no better term than _sentimentalism_
with which to indicate that variety of formalism which is
characteristic of the purposive economy.  The fallacy consists
essentially in the abstraction of the purpose from its constituent
interests.  The true value of a purpose lies in its function of
organization; and is, therefore, inseparable from the interests to
which it gives unity and fulfilment.  But its form, or even its mere
name, may, through association, come to acquire a fictitious value.
When this fictitious value gives rise in contemplation or discourse to
a certain emotional satisfaction, we employ the term "sentimentalism"
in the conventional sense.  This is the sentimentalism of those

  "Who sigh for wretchedness, yet shun the wretched,
  Nursing in some delicious solitude
  Their slothful loves and dainty sympathies."

I wish, however, to emphasize a more insidious variety of this error,
in which it may be more profoundly and fatally confusing.  I refer, in
the first place, to what may be described as _deferred living_.  There
is a popular illusion to the effect that a life purpose is to be
fruitful only at the end; that it is something to be prepared for in
youth, worked for in maturity, and attained--well, {99} it is difficult
to say when.  This is the fallacy of heaven transferred to earth.  "Man
never is, but always to be blest."  Life is conceived as a sentence at
hard labor, the only sure compensation being the ultimate deliverance.
Now there is but one justification of a life purpose, and that is its
conserving of the whole of life; it must save each day and each hour.
There is no more virtue in the future than in the present.  "The
greatest disaster," says a Greek proverb, "is for a man to be opened
and found empty"; and this does not refer to an autopsy.  It is at
least one function of a life-purpose to make life distributively and
continuously good.  That one's life shall be pointed with a purpose
does not mean that it shall be reduced to a point.  The very virtue of
organization lies in its making room for the free play of immediate and
particular interests, in its surrounding them at a distance with
invisible safeguards.

A second important case of sentimentalism is _nationalism_.  The value
of the state lies in its protection and development of the concrete
life of the community.  The true object of patriotism is social
welfare.  But for the state as a provident economy, there may be
substituted as an object of loyalty what is only an idea or a name; and
when this is done men are easily persuaded to play into the hands of
unscrupulous leaders.  {100} To the abominable tyrannies which have
thus been made possible I need not refer.  In Hegel's philosophy of
history,[13] as well as in many modern political theories, this error
has been deliberately affirmed.  But for illustration I prefer to turn
to the case of Plato.  The _Republic_ was conceived, it is true,
without bias of party or race, but there is none the less a strain of
arbitrariness and illiberality in it.  This is due to the fact that the
state is conceived by itself, with a quality and perfection of its own
that displaces the interests of its citizens.[14]  A state which is
defined otherwise than as a provision for the very diversity of life,
an organization responsive to pressure from every constituent desire,
fails from over-simplification.  This I take to be the meaning of
Aristotle's comment on the _Republic_:

The error of Socrates must be attributed to the false notion of unity
from which he starts.  Unity there should be, both of the family and of
the state, but in some respects only.  For there is a point at which a
state may attain such a degree of unity as to be no longer a state, or
at which, without actually ceasing to exist, it will become an inferior
state, like harmony passing into unison, or rhythm which has been
reduced to single foot.  The state is a plurality, which should be
united and made into a community by education.[15]

There is a chapter in the _Discourses_ of Epictetus, entitled: "To or
against those who obstinately Persist in what they have determined."
{101} There could, I think, be no better formulation of purpose grown
hard and unworthily self-sufficient.  This form of materialism I have
termed _egoism_ and _bigotry_, since the purpose may be either personal
or social in scope.  But in either case the diagnosis of Epictetus goes
to the root of the evil.  He thus describes his experience with one of
his companions, "who for no reason resolved to starve himself to death":

I heard of it when it was the third day of his abstinence from food,
and I went to inquire what had happened.

"I have resolved," he said.

"But still tell me what it was which induced you to resolve; for if you
have resolved rightly, we shall sit with you and assist you to depart;
but if you have made an unreasonable resolution, change your mind."

"We ought to keep our determinations."

"What are you doing, man?  We ought to keep not to all our
determinations, but to those which are right; for if you are now
persuaded that it is right, do not change your mind, if you think fit,
but persist and say, we ought to abide by our determinations.  Will you
not make the beginning and lay the foundation in an inquiry whether the
determination is sound or not sound, and so then build on it firmness
and security?" . . .

Now this man was with difficulty persuaded to change his mind.  But it
is impossible to convince some persons at present; so that I seem now
to know, what I did not know before, the meaning of the common saying,
That you can neither persuade nor break a fool.  May it never be my lot
to have a wise fool for my friend: nothing is more untractable.  "I
{102} am determined," the man says.  Madmen are also; but the more
firmly they form a judgment on things which do not exist, the more
ellebore they require.[16]

The wise fool is, as Epictetus says, more intractable than the aimless
and unwitting fool; because there is substance to his folly.  There is
at least some truth on his side.  But his folly is folly none the less.
He hardens himself against that which would save him; while boasting
himself a lover of light, he shuts his eyes lest any ray of it
penetrate to him.  Thus the egoist, through the atrophy of his
sympathies and his preoccupation with a narrow ambition, gratuitously
impoverishes his life; and it is difficult to convince him of his loss,
because he indubitably has some gain.

Bigotry consists essentially in the failure to employ the method of
discussion, in the failure to recognize in every rational being a
possible source of that truth which all need.  It is a stupid
forfeiture or waste of the resources of intelligence possessed by one's
fellows.  The King Creon of Sophocles's _Antigone_ is a masterly
representation of the futility of this pride of opinion.  Creon angrily
resents every impeachment of his wisdom, insisting on instant and
unquestioning obedience.  But his son Haemon thus attempts to save him
from himself:

Father, the gods plant wisdom in mankind, which is of all possessions
highest.  In what respects you {103} have not spoken rightly I cannot
say, and may I never learn; and still it may be possible for some one
else to be right too. . . .  Do not then carry in your heart one fixed
belief that what you say and nothing else is right.  For he who thinks
that he alone is wise, or that he has a tongue and mind no other has,
will when laid open be found empty.[17]

It was once a practice even among learned men to set personal pride
above the truth.  The chancellor of the University of Paris complains
of this practice in the Middle Ages:

What are these combats of scholars, if not true cock-fights, which
cover us with ridicule in the eyes of laymen?  A cock draws himself up
against another and bristles his feathers. . . .  It is the same to-day
with our professors.  Cocks fight with blows from their beaks and
claws; "Self-love," as some one has said, "is armed with a dangerous
spur." [18]

Egoism and bigotry, then, consist essentially in the exaggeration and
immobility of an adopted purpose.  As is the case with every variety of
materialism, their fault lies in their blindness, in their fatuous
rejection of the good that is offered to them.  But this is not all.
For in denying the good which is offered to him, the egoist or bigot
also virtually denies the reason which offers it.  It is this that
constitutes the affront which is called _injustice_.

The full meaning of injustice has been recognised only gradually, and
it is even now by no means free from confusion.  But I think that it
{104} will be agreed that the sting of it is a failing in respect.
Violence may be wholly without this taint; and the most bitter
injustice may be wholly without violence.  To be unjust is to be
condescending or supercilious; to assume superiority on personal
grounds, ignoring the equal access to truth which is enjoyed by every
rational being.  The nice quality of injustice is most clearly to be
apprehended where it is accompanied by benevolent intent.  It is one of
the princely attributes described in the _Book of the Courtier_, and
justified in a manner that leaves no doubt of its implied meaning:

True it is that there are two modes of ruling: the one imperious and
violent, like that of masters toward their slaves, and in this way the
soul commands the body; the other more mild and gentle, like that of
good princes by means of laws over their subjects, and in this way the
reason commands the appetite; and both of these modes are useful, for
the body is by nature created apt for obedience to the soul, and so is
appetite for obedience to reason.  Moreover, there are many men whose
actions have to do only with the use of the body; and such as these are
as far from virtuous as the soul from the body, and although they are
rational creatures, they have only such share of reason as to recognize
it, but not to possess or profit by it.  These, therefore, are
naturally slaves, and it is better and more profitable for them to obey
than to command.[19]

Now the essence of injustice lies in this Platonic manner of
classifying human beings in terms of {105} limited capacities; in
assigning to some the degraded status of the appetites, and to others a
limited faculty of understanding, while arrogating to a few the full
power and title of Reason.  The resentment of this arrogance is no more
than the assertion of that potentiality of reason which distinguishes
the animal man; it is his inevitable coming of age, his determination
to play the man's part.


_Justice_ is the mutual respect through which rational purposes enter
into a relation of _fraternal equality_.  It is the courteous paying of
honor where honor is due.  In modern times justice has very properly
been identified with _tolerance_, which is the acknowledgment that one
is one's self equally liable to error with another, and that another is
equally liable to truth with one's self.  Justice attaches a certain
finality to the judgment of every individual instrument of reason.
Under the form of justice _veracity_ realizes its highest meaning.  The
truth is not to be administered with paternal indulgence or caution; it
is to be yielded as a right to every free and self-determining mind.

The practice and the spirit of justice pervade every highly developed
social grouping, such as marriage, friendship, or fellow-citizenship in
a democracy.  For Aristotle a friendship is "one {106} soul dwelling in
two bodies";[20] that is, the same high capacity uniting two
individuals in the acknowledgment of its common principles, and in the
contemplation of its common objects.  Aristotle's other saying, that
"man is a political animal," is inspired with the same meaning.  To
participate in the life of a state, in which one's fellow-citizens were
one's equals, in which men with equal endowments carried on one united
activity while acknowledging one another's independence, was to an
Athenian the very fulness of life.  To be banished from it was, even in
the eyes of the law, equivalent to death.

In a chapter of his _Physics and Politics_, entitled "The Age of
Discussion," Bagehot has admirably represented the importance for human
progress of an open exchange of opinion on all matters of great

In this manner all the great movements of thought in ancient and modern
times have been nearly connected in time with government by discussion.
Athens, Rome, the Italian republics of the Middle Ages, the communes
and states-general of feudal Europe, have all had a special and
peculiar quickening influence, which they owed to their freedom, and
which states without that freedom have never communicated.  And it has
been at the time of great epochs of thought--at the Peloponnesian War,
at the fall of the Roman Republic, at the Reformation, at the French
Revolution--that such liberty of speaking and thinking have produced
their full effect.[21]

{107} Elsewhere Bagehot attributes to freedom of discussion, not only
the deliverance from narrow and conventional habits, but that general
elevation of tone which is characteristic of such an era as the
Elizabethan age in England.  In short, justice or toleration, since it
encourages men to push on to the limit of their powers, promotes not
only originality and diversity, but a love of perfection.

It will have been observed that justice and freedom are complementary,
for he who is just liberates, and he who is free receives justice.
Together they constitute the basis of all the higher relationships
between men, of a progressive society, and of the whole constructive
movement which we call civilization.

But it is possible to construe justice and freedom only negatively, as
meaning that the individual is to be allowed to go his way in peace.
Such a misconception is formalistic, in that it rests on a failure to
recognize the providence or fruitfulness of justice.  The virtue of
justice lies not in its disintegration of society, but in its enabling
the members of society to unite upon the highest plane of endeavor.
Justice is a method wherewith men may profit collectively, and in their
organized effort, from a sum of enlightenment to which every individual
contributes his best.  _Anarchism_ rests in the negative protest
against {108} conformity; forgetting that the only right to liberty is
founded on the possession of a reasonableness that inclines the
individual to the universal; and forgetting that the only virtue in
liberty lies in the opportunity for union and devotion which it

There is a more restricted form of anarchism in _scepticism_ which
attaches finality to differences of opinion, and overlooks the fact
that these very differences must be regarded as converging approaches
to the common truth.  For men can differ only in the presence of
identical objects which virtually annul their difference.  To be free
to think as one pleases cannot but mean to think as truly as possible,
and so to approach as closely as possible to what others also tend to

But a larger importance attaches to that mild variety of anarchism
which is commonly called _laissez-faire_, and which Matthew Arnold
calls British Atheism or Quietism.  The reader will recall Arnold's
quotation from the _Times_:

It is of no use for us to attempt to force upon our neighbors our
several likings and dislikings.  We must take things as they are.
Everybody has his own little vision of religious or civil perfection.
Under the evident impossibility of satisfying everybody, we agree to
take our stand on equal laws and on a system as open and liberal as is
possible.  The result is that everybody has more liberty of action and
of speaking here than anywhere else in the Old World.

{109} And from Mr. Roebuck:

I look around me and ask what is the state of England?  Is not every
man able to say what he likes?  I ask you whether the world over, or in
past history, there is anything like it?  Nothing.  I pray that our
unrivalled happiness may last.[22]

This is an almost perfect representation of the sentimental interest in
justice.  In the course of such justice, "none of us should see
salvation."  It leaves wholly out of account the fact that when men are
left free to talk or act or live as they will, they will either
stagnate, or they will strive for the best and help it to prevail.  If
the latter, they will be brought back to the _state as the means of
making right reason effective_, and of extending to all not simply the
leave to be what they want to be, of following what Arnold calls their
"natural taste of the bathos," but the opportunity of learning better.

Justice, like purpose and prudence, is a principle of organization,
owing its virtue to the larger fulfilment of interest which it makes
possible.  Through this principle the individual is granted
independence, in order that his freedom may remove every limit from his
service.  He is delivered from the bondage of violence and convention,
but he is delivered into the charge of his own reason, which must give
bonds not only that he will keep the peace, but that he will give {110}
himself wholly to that true good which he may now discern.

In justice the human secular society is perfected.  By a secular
society I mean a society held to be self-sufficient as it is; a society
in which only those interests are acknowledged which are actually
present, or have actually been admitted to a place of power or
prestige.  But secularism or _worldliness_ in this sense suffers from
the general error of materialism, the error of mistaking the _de facto_
good for the whole good.  It is only another case of that blindness
which is the penalty of all self-sufficiency.  The ancient and the
modern types of worldliness present an interesting difference which
will serve to illustrate their common fault.

Greek literature abounds in the glorification of the life already
achieved.  Thus Solon asks no more of the gods than to be fortunate and
honored: "Grant unto me wealth from the blessed gods, and to have alway
fair fame in the eyes of all men.  Grant that I may thus be dear to my
friends, and bitter to my foes; revered in the sight of the one, awful
in the sight of the other." [23]

To this Pindar adds the petition that, "being dead I may set upon my
children a name that shall be of no ill report." [24]  Even the ideal
of the philosophers is only a refinement of this; {111} recognizing the
superiority of such activities as engage the imagination or reason, but
nevertheless finding happiness to be complete in terms of the
fulfilment of the dominant desires within the existing political
community.  This conception was vaguely distrusted, it is true; but it
represents the characteristic enlightenment of the most enlightened
centre of Greek life.  Its insufficiency was not clearly demonstrated
until the advent of Christianity; when it was proved to lie in a lack
of _pity_.  Now pity is not, as is sometimes supposed, a kind of
weakness; it is a kind of knowledge, wherewith men are reminded of
obscure and neglected interests.  It is easy to understand why the
Christian revolution should have been regarded as destructive of
culture.  For it meant not the qualitative refinement of the good, but
the quantitative distribution of it.  But it none the less marks an
epoch in moral enlightenment; since the bringing of all men up to one
level of opportunity and welfare is as essential a part of the good as
the cultivation of distinction.

The modern worldliness consists not in a lack of pity, but in a lack of
_imagination_.  Philistinism, as Matthew Arnold describes it, is a
complacent satisfaction with the _kind_ of good that is praised and
sought for in any given time.  Such complacency is found in its most
extreme form among those reformers or even religious leaders who are
{112} devoted to the saving of men; for these come to overrate their
wares through the very act of pressing them upon others.  Matthew
Arnold never tires of illustrating this from the Liberal propaganda of
his day:

And I say that the English reliance on our religious organisations and
on their ideas of human perfection just as they stand, is like our
reliance on freedom, on muscular Christianity, on population, on coal,
on wealth--mere belief in machinery, and unfruitful; and that it is
wholesomely counteracted by culture, bent on seeing things as they are,
and on drawing the human race onwards to a more complete, a harmonious

In other words, both humanism and humanitarianism may be lacking in
humanity: humanism, on account of its insensibility to pain and hunger
and poverty when these lie outside a narrow radius of bright intensive
living; humanitarianism, on account of its failure to honor the highest
type of attainment and to prefigure a perfection not yet realized.


There is but one economy of interests which furnishes the proper sphere
of moral action, namely, the universal economy which embraces within
one system all interests whatsoever, present, remote, and potential.
The validity of this economy lies in the fact that the goodness of
action cannot {113} be judged without reference to all the interests
affected, whether directly or indirectly.  To live well is to live for
all life.  The control of action by this motive is the virtue of
_good-will_.  It should be added that the good will must be not only
compassionate, but just; offering to help, without failing to respect.
And it must be not only devoted, but also enlightened; serving, but not
without self-criticism and insight.

Such a programme need not seem bewildering or quixotic.  If my action
does not offend those most nearly concerned, it will scarcely offend
those removed by space, time, or indirection.  Charity begun at home is
spread abroad without my further endeavor.  Furthermore, it is
good-will rather than a narrow complacency that inspires my assuming of
the special tasks and responsibilities defined by proximity, descent,
and special aptitude.  Life as a whole is built out of individual
opportunities and vocations.  It is required only that while I live
effectively and happily, as circumstance or choice may determine, I
should conform myself to those principles which harmonize life with
life, and bring an abundance on the whole out of the fruitfulness of
individual effort.

Good-will is the moral condition of religion, where this is corrected
by enlightenment.  The religion of good-will is best illustrated, from
the {114} European tradition, in the transition from paganism to
Christianity.  I have said that the Greeks were not without distrust of
that natural and worldly happiness which they most praised.  This, for
example, is the testimony of Euripides:

          Long ago
  I looked upon man's days, and found a grey
  Shadow.  And this thing more I surely say,
  That those of all men who are counted wise,
  Strong wits, devisers of great policies,
  Do pay the bitterest toll.  Since life began;
  Hath there in God's eye stood one happy man?
  Fair days roll on, and bear more gifts or less
  Of fortune, but to no man happiness.[26]

This note of pessimism grows more marked among the philosophers, and is
at length taken up into the Christian renunciation of the world.  The
philosophers attempted to devise a way of happiness which the superior
individual might follow through detaching himself from political
society and cultivating his speculative powers.[27]  But the Christian
renunciation involved the abandonment of every claim to individual
self-sufficiency, even the pride of reason.  It expressed a sense of
the general plight of humanity, and looked for relief only through a
power with love and might enough to save all.  Hence there is this
fundamental difference between pagan and Christian pessimism: the pagan
confesses his powerlessness to make himself impregnable {115} to
fortune, while the Christian convicts himself of sin, confessing his
worthlessness when measured by the task of universal salvation.  The
one pities and absolves himself; the other condemns himself.

Now the other-worldliness of Christianity was without doubt a grave
error, which it found itself compelled to correct; but it was none the
less the vehicle through which European civilization became possessed
of the most important secrets of religious happiness.  In the first
place, all are made sharers, through sympathy, in the failure of the
present; and, thus distributed, the burden is lightened.  "It is an act
within the power of charity," says Sir Thomas Browne, "to translate a
passion out of one breast into another, and to divide a sorrow almost
out of itself; for an affliction, like a dimension, may be so divided
as, if not indivisible, at least to become insensible." [28]  In the
second place, it is understood that there is no such thing as a
happiness that is enjoyed at the expense of others and by the special
favor of fortune.  There is no promise of individual salvation save in
the salvation of all.  A private and protected happiness is bound
sooner or later to be destroyed by an increase of sensibility, by an
enlightened awareness of the evil beyond.  And to experience evil, to
realize it, and yet to be content, lies not within {116} the power of
any moral being; it is not merely difficult, it is self-contradictory.
To any one who judges himself fairly, with a wide and vivid image of
life as it is in all its ramifications and obscurities, the evil of the
world is all one.  It follows that, as there is no perfect happiness
except in the annihilation of evil, so there can be no peace of mind,
no self-respect, no sense of living truly and for the best, unless
one's action can be conceived as wholly saving and up-building, as
contributing in its place and in its way to the general forward
movement.  This, I think, is the deeper explanation of the buoyancy of
devoted people, of that buoyancy which was a source of such great
wonder to the disillusioned wise men of ancient times.  And this, I
think, is the meaning of the Christian teaching that it is more blessed
to give than to receive; and that the love of one's God is to grow out
of the love of one's neighbor.

I have endeavored to show that the highest good is the greatest good;
that it may not only be inferred from the present good, but that it
actually _consists_ of the present good, with more like it, and with
the present evil eliminated.  By _mysticism_ I mean that species of
formalism in which the highest good, out of respect for its exaltation,
is divorced from the present good, and so emptied of content.
Professor James has said that it is {117} characteristic of
rationalists and sentimentalists, to "extract a quality from the muddy
particulars of experience, and find it so pure when extracted that they
contrast it with each and all its muddy instances as an opposite and
higher, nature." [29]  There is a peculiar liability to such
abstraction in religion, for religion involves a judgment of
insufficiency against every limited achievement.  A longing after
unqualified good is the very breath of enlightened religion; and in
order that that ideal may be kept pure, it must not be identified with
any partial good.  Indeed, the office of religion requires it to
condemn as only partial, good that is commonly taken to be sufficient.
Now there is only one way of defining a good that shall be universal
without being merely formal, and that is by defining perfection
quantitatively rather than qualitatively; substituting for the Platonic
Absolute Good, in which the present good is refined away into a phrase
or symbol, the maximum good, in which the present good is saved and
multiplied.  He who believes that he conceives goodness otherwise than
as the good which he already possesses, deceives himself; as does the
author of the _Religio Medici_, when he says:

That wherein God Himself is happy, the holy Angels are happy, in whose
defect the Devils are unhappy, that dare I call happiness; whatsoever
{118} conduceth unto this may with an easy Metaphor deserve that name;
whatsoever else the World terms Happiness, is to me a story out of
Pliny, a tale of Boccace or Malizspini, an apparition, or neat
delusion, wherein there is no more of Happiness than the name.  Bless
me in this life with but peace of my Conscience, command of my
affections, the love of Thyself and my dearest friends, and I shall be
happy enough to pity Caesar.[30]

Now it is safe to say that Sir Thomas Browne was in fact unable to
attribute to God and the angels any other happiness than these same
blessings which he covets for himself, saving only that they shall be
without stint, and joined with others like them.

Formalism, as we have seen, is never merely negative in its
consequences; for any moral untruth, since it replaces a truth, cannot
fail to pervert life.  Thus one may be persuaded with the author whom I
have just quoted to count the world, "not an Inn, but an Hospital; and
a place not to live, but to dye in." [31]  I do not suppose that any
one ever succeeded in wholly resisting the hospitality of this world,
and one suspects that Thomas Browne partook not a little of its good
cheer; but the opinion is false notwithstanding, and if false, then
confusing and misleading.  This world is not a place to suffer in, nor
even a place to be mended in, but the only opportunity of achievement
and service that can be certainly {119} counted on.  The good is in the
making here, if it is in the making anywhere.  To neglect life here is
equivalent to forfeiting it altogether.

Religious formalism may induce not only a default of present
opportunity and responsibility, but also a substitution for good living
of an emotional improvisation on the theme of absolute perfection, like
that in the _Book of the Courtier_:

If, then, the beauties which with these dim eyes of ours we daily see
in corruptible bodies, . . . seem to us so fair and gracious that they
often kindle most ardent fire in us, . . . what happy wonder, what
blessed awe, shall we think is that which fills the souls that attain
to the vision of divine beauty!  What sweet flame, what delightful
burning, must that be thought which springs from the fountain of
supreme and true beauty!--which is the source of every other beauty,
which never waxes nor wanes: ever fair, and of its own self most simple
in every part alike; like only to itself, and partaking of none other;
but fair in such wise that all other fair things are fair because they
derive their beauty from it.  This is that beauty identical with
highest good.[32]

Now I do not want to be understood as condemning this mysticism out of
hand.  I mean only that while it is eloquent and purifying, it is,
nevertheless, not illuminating; and that if it be mistaken for
illumination, it does in fact hide the light.  It has no meaning
whatsoever except the general idea of the superlative, and if it be not
attached to some definite content drawn from {120} experience of acts
and their consequences, it does but substitute a phrase for the proper
objects of action and an emotion for provident conduct.

There is a further moral danger in mysticism, which I need only mention
here, because I propose to discuss it more fully in the chapter on
religion.  Since mysticism opposes a formal perfection to the concrete
good of experience, it tends to obscure the distinction between good
and evil.  That distinction lies within experience, and if experience
as a whole be discredited, the distinction is discredited with it.  If
the common, familiar good is not to be taken as valid, then finality no
longer attaches to that common, familiar evil which the moral will has
been trained to condemn and resist.  If the good lie "beyond good and
evil," then neither is the good good nor the evil evil.  The result is
to leave the moral will without justification, supported only by habit
and custom.

The virtue of piety lies in its completing, not in its replacing,
secular efficiency.  It gives to a life that is provident and fruitful
as it goes, the stimulus of a momentous project, and reverence for a
good that shall embrace unlimited possibilities.



In reviewing the several levels of life which morality defines, we may
observe two types of universal value.  The lower values in relation to
the higher are indispensable.  There is no health without satisfaction,
no achievement without health, no rational intercourse without
achievement, and no true religion except as the perfecting and
completing of a rational society.  The higher values, on the other
hand, are more universal than the lower in that they surpass these in
validity, and are entitled to preference.  Thus the lower values are
ennobled by the higher, while the higher are given body and meaning by
the lower.  Satisfaction derives dignity from being controlled by the
motive of good-will, while the moral kingdom at large derives its
wealth, its pertinence to life, and its incentive, from the great
manifold of particular interests which it conserves and fosters.

It is the formal rather than the material principle in life which
defines the direction of moral effort.  By prudence, purpose, justice,
and good-will life is regenerated and urged, against the resistance of
inertia, towards its maximum of attainment.  Hence these are the
virtues which make men heroes, and which are symbolized in manners and
in worship.  Manners are a {122} symbolic representation of rational
intercourse; thus courtesy is a ceremony of respect, chivalry of
service, and modesty of self-restraint and impersonality.  Worship is
similarly a symbolic representation of good-will and hope.  Upon the
cultivation of "those outward and sensible motions which may express or
promote an invisible devotion" human life is dependent not only for its
graciousness, but for its discipline and growth.




The phrase "philosophy of history" is at present somewhat in disrepute.
It enjoys much the same unpopularity among historians as does the term
"metaphysics" among scientists, and probably for the same reason.  It
is assumed that such a discipline must either violate or exceed the
facts in the interests of some _a priori_ conception.  Doubtless some
philosophies of history have been guilty of this charge; but they do
not, I am sure, exhaust the possibilities in the case.  In the present
chapter I shall present an outline of what might fairly be regarded as
a philosophy of history, but which nevertheless does no more than
attempt a precise definition of principles which even the historian is
forced to employ.

I shall not attempt to define the task of history, except in the
broadest terms.  The form which its results should finally assume is a
matter of dispute among historians themselves.  But it is at least
possible to indicate the field of history in terms that will command
general assent.  In the first place, history deals with change, with
the temporal sequence of events; and in the second place, it confines
itself to such events as belong to what is called human conduct.
Entirely apart from theories of method or technique, it seems clear
that any established fact falling within this description belongs
properly to that body of knowledge which we call history.

I wish especially to call attention to the fact that history deals with
_human conduct_.  It deals, in other words, with actions which serve
interests; with needs, desires, and purposes as these are fulfilled or
thwarted in the course of time.  Its subject-matter, therefore, is
moral.  It describes the clash of interests, the failure or success of
ambition, the improvement or decay of nations; in short, all things
good and evil in so far as they have been achieved and recorded.  And
the broader the scope of the historian's study the more clearly do
these moral principles emerge.  The present-day emphasis on the
accurate verification of data somewhat obscures, but does not negate
the fact, that every item of detail is in the end brought under some
judgment of good or evil, of gain or loss in human welfare.  All
history is virtually a history of civilization; and civilization is a
moral conception referring to the sum of human achievement in so far as
this is pronounced good.

Now there is a branch of philosophy called {125} "ethics," to which is
committed the investigation of moral conceptions.  These conceptions
are as much subject to exact analysis as conceptions of motion or
organic behavior.  And such an analysis must underlie all judgments
concerning the condition of mankind in any time or place, if these
judgments make any claim to truth.  The application of ethical analysis
to the recorded life of man is a philosophy of history.[1]  Such a
discipline is charged with the criticism of the past in terms of
critical principles which have been explicitly formulated.  With a
knowledge of what it means to be good or evil one may conclude in all
seriousness whether the fortunes of society in any time or place were
good or evil.  One may with meaning distinguish between those who have
been the friends and the enemies of society; and one may refer to the
growth or decay of nations with some notion of what these terms
signify.  But it will be the main problem of a philosophy of history to
deliver some verdict concerning the progress or decline of
institutions, and of civilization at large.

It is necessary that we should at once rid our minds of false notions
concerning the meaning of _progress_.  This conception has been greatly
confused during recent times through being identified with evolution in
the biological sense.  It should be perfectly clear that such evolution
may or {126} may not be progressive; it means only a continuous
modification of life in accordance with the demands of the environment.
Even where this modification takes the direction of increasing
complexity it does not necessarily constitute betterment; and it is
entirely consistent with the principle of adaptation that it should
take the reverse direction.  Biological evolution signifies only a
steady yielding to the pressure of the physical environment, whether
for better or for worse.  It is also important not to confuse the
conception of progress with that of mere change or temporal duration.
Because society has grown older it has not necessarily on that account
grown wiser; nor because it has changed much has it necessarily on that
account changed for the better.  Whether the accumulations of the past
are wealth or rubbish is not to be determined by their bulk.

Progress cleared of these ambiguities means, then, _a change from good
to better_; an increase, in the course of time, of the value of life,
whatever that may be.  Taken in the absolute sense it means, not a gain
here or a gain there, but _a gain on the whole_.  It is impossible to
reach any conclusion whatsoever concerning progress except in the light
of some conception of the total enterprise of life.  Every advance must
be estimated not merely in relation to the interest immediately {127}
served, but in relation to that whole complex of interests which is
called humanity.

In discussing progress I shall therefore with right employ those moral
conceptions which I have already defined.  I shall regard as good
whatever fulfils interests, and as morally good whatever fulfils all
interests affected to the maximum degree.  Especial importance now
attaches to the principle which I have phrased the _quantitative basis
of preference_.  Since progress involves the change from good to
better, it implies an increment of value.  The later age is judged to
be _as good and better_.  I can see no way of verifying such a
proposition unless it be possible to find in the greater good both the
lesser good and also something added to it and likewise accounted good.
In other words, progress involves measurement of value, and this
involves some _unit of value_ which is common to the terms compared.
The method must be in the last analysis that of superimposition.

Bagehot virtually employs this method in the chapter of his _Physics
and Politics_, which he entitles "Verifiable Progress Politically
Considered."  Let me quote, for example, his comparison of the
Englishman with the primitive Australian.

If we omit the higher but disputed topics of morals and religion, we
shall find, I think, that the plainer {128} and agreed-on superiorities
of the Englishmen are these: first, that they have a greater command
over the powers of nature upon the whole.  Though they may fall short
of individual Australians in certain feats of petty skill, though they
may not throw the boomerang as well, or light a fire with earthsticks
as well, yet on the whole twenty Englishmen with their implements and
skill can change the material world immeasurably more than twenty
Australians and their machines.  Secondly, that this power is not
external only; it is also internal.  The English not only possess
better machines for moving nature, but are themselves better machines.
Mr. Babbage taught us years ago that one great use of machinery was not
to augment the force of man, but to register and regulate the power of
man; and this in a thousand ways civilized man can do, and is ready to
do, better and more precisely than the barbarian.  Thirdly, civilized
man has not only greater powers over nature, but knows better how to
use them, and by better I here mean better for the health and comfort
of his present body and mind.  He can lay up for old age, which a
savage having no durable means of sustenance cannot; he is ready to lay
up because he can distinctly foresee the future, which the vague-minded
savage cannot.[2]

It will be observed that in each case the superiority of the Englishmen
lies in the fact that they _beat the Australians at their own game_.
Australians are as much interested as Englishmen in obtaining command
over nature, in organizing their own powers, and in securing health and
comfort.  The Englishmen, however, can fulfil these interests not only
up to but also beyond {129} the point which marks the limit of the
Australians' attainment.

The method of superimposition is virtually employed in all competitive
struggle.  The glory and fruits of victory are sought by both
opponents, and the success of one is the failure of the other.  The
superiority of the victor to the vanquished is beyond question only
because they had the same interest at stake.

The application of this method to the determination of progress is not
confined to philosophers of history.  It is applied by every individual
who realizes that his advance from childhood to maturity has been
attended with growth and development.  For the old boundaries of
childhood still remain as evidence of the greater magnitude of the life
which has outgrown them.  Similarly every man may mark within himself
the various limits which once bounded him, but which he has since
exceeded in consequence of steady and consecutive effort.  The progress
of mankind at large differs only in complexity and range.  It can be
tested and determined only because identical interests persist.  If men
had not in all times wanted the same things it would be impossible to
measure their attainments.  Their successes and failures would be
incommensurable.  But the old needs and the old hopes yet remain.  The
problem of life which was from {130} the beginning is a problem still.
If it can be shown that the old needs are met more easily, along with
new needs besides, that there is better promise that the hopes will be
fulfilled, and that the general problem of life is nearer a solution,
then human progress will have been demonstrated.


I propose, in the first place, to discuss two general principles, the
operation of which is conducive to progress.  One of these principles
is _external_, that is, it relates to the environment of life rather
than to its internal economy; and to this I shall turn first.

The external environment of life is in some respects favorable, in
other respects unfavorable.  Now, strangely enough, it is the
unfavorable rather than the favorable aspect of the environment that
conduces to progress.  Progress, or even the least good, would, of
course, be impossible, unless the mechanical environment was morally
plastic.  The fact that nature submits to the organization which we
call life is a fundamental and constant condition of all civilization.
But there is nothing in the mere compliance of nature to press life
forward.  It is the _menace_ of nature which stimulates progress.  It
is because nature always remains a source of difficulty and danger
{131} that life is provoked to renew the war and achieve a more
thorough conquest.  Nature will not permit life to keep what it has
unless it gains more.

The external environment of life embraces not only mechanical nature,
but also such outlying units of life as have not yet been brought into
harmonious relations.  Conflict between individuals, tribes, races, or
nations operates in a manner analogous to mechanical nature.  It exerts
a constant pressure in the direction of greater strength and
efficiency.  In order that man shall not be robbed by his enemies of
what he already has, he must forever be attempting to make himself
impregnable and formidable.

But war and the struggle with nature not only put a premium on the
better organization of life; they also make it a condition of
permanence.  Superior individuals survive when inferior individuals
perish in the struggle, or the superior type obtains an ascendency over
the inferior.  In human warfare the defeated party is rarely if ever
utterly annihilated; it tends, however, to lose its prestige or even
its identity through being assimilated to the victorious party.  In
either case that form of life which in conflict proves itself the
stronger, tends to prevail, through the exclusion of those forms which
prove themselves weaker.

An unfavorable environment has, then, operated externally to develop
coherence and unity {132} in life.  But the cost has been prodigious,
and must be subtracted from the gain.  For there is no virtue in
conflict save the strength of the victor.  Man has made a virtue of
this necessity; but to obviate so dire a necessity becomes one of the
first tasks which civilization undertakes.  The attempt to eliminate
conflict, and reduce to a minimum the sacrifice of special interests,
marks the operation of the _internal_ or _moral_ principle of progress.
During the historical period this principle assumes a constantly
greater prominence.

A society may be said to be internally progressive when it can afford
to withdraw some of its energies from the struggle for existence, and
devote them to the improvement of method and the saving of waste.  Its
stability and security must be so far guaranteed as to make it safe to
undertake a reconstruction, calculated to provide more fully for its
constituent interests and develop its latent possibilities.  There now
obtains, within limits that tend steadily to expand, what Bagehot calls
"government by discussion," that is, the regulation of action by the
invention, selection, and trial of the best means.  This substitution
of rational procedure for custom is an irreversible and germinal
process.  Let me quote Bagehot's account of it:

A government by discussion, if it can be borne, at once breaks down the
yoke of fixed custom.  The {133} idea of the two is inconsistent.  As
far as it goes, the mere putting up of a subject to discussion is a
clear admission that that subject is in no degree settled by
established rule, and that men are free to choose in it. . . .  And if
a single subject or group of subjects be once admitted to discussion,
ere long the habit of discussion comes to be established, the sacred
charm of use and wont to be dissolved.  "Democracy," it has been said
in modern times, "is like the grave; it takes, but it does not give."
The same is true of "discussion."  Once effectually submit a subject to
that ordeal, and you can never withdraw it again; you can never again
clothe it with mystery, or fence it by consecration; it remains forever
open to free choice, and exposed to profane deliberation.[3]

The strength of custom or established authority lies in prompt and
undivided action against external enemies; but its weakness lies in its
excessive cost to the interests within.  And when there is leisure and
security for deliberation, the policy and organization of society must
respond at once to the claims of these interests.  Development is now
due to a moral rather than to a mechanical principle; that is, the
surviving type of life is due not to pressure and elimination from
without, but to a provident concern that emanates from within.  There
is a deliberate intention to promote survival, those interests alone
being restricted or suppressed which do not comply with this intention.
There evolves not a selected group of strong individuals, but a strong
community, strong because both full of life, or rich {134} in
incentive, and also harmonious.  And within such a community the
strength of individuals lies not in a sheer power to resist the strain
of competition, but in the rational and moral capacity to utilize the
resources of the entire community.  Through moral organization the
strong are made stronger at the same time that the weak are made strong.

Strictly speaking, there is only one internal principle of progress,
namely, _rationality_.  By rationality, in this connection, I mean the
knowledge of the good, and the correction of existing usages through
which it is accidentally or wantonly frustrated.  If fulfilment be the
motive of life, and maximum fulfilment be the good, then any existing
usage stands condemned when it is proved to involve unnecessary
sacrifice.  And such usages will be condemned, and in the long run
rejected, wherever there is an opportunity for self-assertion and
discussion among the various interests concerned.  But such correction
may be initiated either by a positive or a negative motive.  It may
result either from the action of those who seek constructively to
promote the general welfare of society, or from the action of those who
protest against society in behalf of neglected interests.  The first is
_constructive reform_, the second, _revolution_.

_Constructive reform_ is the work of disinterested {135} reflection.
It may originate in speculation, as political or social theory; or it
may originate in the solution of a practical problem.  Plato has
described the type of mind which in either case it requires: a mind
which is free from individual or party bias, and which represents and
co-ordinates all the interests of the community.  Now the failure of
political and social theories as measures of reform is proverbial; none
failed more completely and conspicuously than Plato's own.  And it is
not difficult to see why this should be the case; for, as a rule, they
are adapted neither to the habits and intelligence of the time, nor to
the actual instruments of practical efficiency.  But it may be observed
that the distance between the philosopher and the man of affairs is
considerably shorter than it used to be.  The method of discussion
being once generally adopted, action, both individual and social, is
pervaded with theory.  Even the man of affairs cannot easily avoid
being a philosopher.

And even in distinguishing as sharply as I have between theory and
practice, I have simply followed a customary habit of thought that is
on the whole misleading.  For, in truth, it is as impossible for the
man of affairs to avoid disinterested reflection, as it is for the
commercial traveller to be unsociable.  The activity of the one has to
do with the organization of a wide range of {136} interests, as the
activity of the other has to do with the capitalization of

Those of you who are familiar with the First Book of Plato's _Republic_
will remember the account given there of the forced benevolence of the
tyrant.  It is, I believe, one of the great classics in ethical theory;
and although its full meaning will not appear until we deal directly
with the problem of government, I must allude to it here for the sake
of the principle involved.  The sophist of the dialogue, one
Thrasymachus, attempts to overthrow Socrates's conclusion that virtue
is essentially beneficent, by pointing to the case of the tyrant, who
is eminent and powerful, as every one would wish to be, but who is at
the same time wholly unscrupulous.  He is the symbol of success, in
that he can on all occasions do what it pleases him to do, and with no
regard for the feelings of others.  Now Socrates in his reply is not
satisfied to show that even the tyrant must have some scruples; he goes
to the length of asserting that the tyrant must of all persons in the
community have the _most_ scruples.  And the reason which Socrates
advances is unanswerable.  The tyrant is the one person in the
community who has to _please everybody_.  He owes his position and
power, not to any directly productive activity, such as agriculture,
industry, or military service, but wholly to his skill in {137}
organizing and promoting interests that are not primarily his own.  To
be sure, he has his hire; but to earn it he must pay every man his

Now let us apply this to the general case of the man of affairs.  It
follows that just in so far as action is broad in scope, it must be
considerate and just.  To conduct enterprises on a large scale involves
contact with many interests, and these interests, once affected, must
either be understood and provided for or else antagonized.  The greater
the enterprise, the more truly does it exist by sufferance; it depends
on the support of those who profit by it, and if that support be
withdrawn, it collapses into absolute impotence.  The ancient Cynics
were right in thinking that the only man who can afford to be
indifferent to the interests of his fellows is the man who renounces
ambition and retires to his tub.

Once the era of civilization is inaugurated, power depends on moral
capacity, that is, the capacity to protect and promote a considerable
number of interests, and thus win their backing.  This is proved in
every field of human activity, military, political, religious,
intellectual, social, or commercial.  Commerce and industry afford at
present the most striking examples.  The man who succeeds is the man
who can satisfy the greatest number of appetites.  And the more his
enterprise grows the more it becomes a public concern; {138} and the
more, therefore, must he be studious of public welfare and responsive
to public opinion.  Thus manufacturing, transportation, or banking,
when conducted on a large scale, touch life at so many points, that he
who seeks to gain power or wealth by means of them will gradually and
without any abrupt change of motive approximate the method of
disinterested service.  So every station in life, from that of the
ruler to that of the shopkeeper, has its own characteristic form of the
one problem of _meeting, adjusting and fulfilling interests_.  The
desire to be successful or to attain eminence in one's station exerts a
constant pressure in the direction of the invention, trial, and
selection of methods that will solve this problem.  And such methods
once devised are at once supported by the interests they serve, and
become necessary to the life of the community.

Now the wise leader anticipates the needs and wishes of his followers,
and so enjoys their continued support without ever seeming to depend on
it.  But there are very few such wise leaders.  The reason for their
scarcity lies in the natural inertia of profitable activities.  There
is a universal propensity to let well enough alone.  So methods are
allowed to outlive their usefulness, or remain unmodified when more
provident and fruitful methods could be devised.  When leadership {139}
thus fails to be statesmanlike and far-sighted, there occurs that
uprising of the disaffected interests which is called _revolution_.

_Revolution_, then, is the self-assertion of the various constituent
interests which do not find room or fair measure within the existing
organization.  The evidence of the insufficiency of present methods
being neglected by those in charge, that evidence _makes itself known_.
In the long run this is the surest principle of progress, because it is
brought into operation by those who have a nearer or more indispensable
interest at stake.  It is unquestionably to the interest of the
individual who heads an enterprise to conduct it rationally, that is,
to make it always as productive as possible for all the interests which
it serves.  But if he fails he may not at once incur the penalty, or be
conscious of it if he does; he may only forfeit an increase of power,
or render his position precarious.  On the other hand, to the
constituent interest which is sacrificed, this same failure may mean
loss of bread or even loss of life.  Hence the latter is more sure to
move in the matter.  Justice is more urgently needed by the slave who
rebels, than by the master who may be brought through enlightenment to
liberate him.  Thus neglected interests have been the conscience of
every great human reform.  Let me cite the two greatest cases of this
in the history of {140} European civilization, Christianity and the
French Revolution.

Christianity as a social revolution was a protest against the existing
order on the part of interests which it did not recognize.  I do not
mean that these interests were not tolerated; they were, of course,
protected, and even given a legal status.  But in the reckoning of good
and evil they were not _counted_.  Women and slaves, the poor, the
ill-born, and the ignorant, were instruments which the happy man might
use, or incidents of life which might test his charity and magnanimity.
These classes rose to overthrow no single institution, but a whole
conception of life, or standard of well-being which was defined to
exclude them.  In paganism, which did not pass with the advent of
Christianity, but still lingers as the creed of the very precious
souls, humanity is conceived only qualitatively, and not
quantitatively.  The good of the race is conceived to consist in the
perfection of a few, chosen for their superior endowment and fortune.
The eminent refinement and nobility of these demigods is substituted
for the saving of lives, for the general distribution of welfare and
opportunity.  The many are to find compensation for their hardship in
the happiness of the few.  But the Christian principle of atonement was
the precise opposite of this: one suffered that all might be blessed.
Christianity {141} looked towards a good that should number every one
in the multitude and endure throughout all time.  Now it has since
appeared that this was no more than the truth; and that it might have
been conceived and executed by the wise men, had they only been more
wise.  But they were wise only within the limits of their own conceit.
Hence it took the form of an assault on the established enlightenment.
The many, with their yearning for a universal happiness, with their
deep concern for the greater good, and their jealous compassion for all
souls, destroyed the narrow eminence of the few.  Thus Christianity was
a revolution, and not a constructive reform.

The French Revolution was a protest not only against apathy, but
against insolence as well.  It was a demand of the many not merely to
be happy, but to have what they called their "rights" respected; a
protest against authority, not only because it was cruel, but because
it was arbitrary, tyrannical.  Hence it was aimed against priestcraft
as well as against monarchy.  It was based on the conviction that no
one is so justly entitled to pass judgment on a man's affairs as a man
himself.  But it was a cry from the depths, the bitter resentment of a
long-standing abuse.  Therefore it took the form of an uprising against
the established order; and while it opened men's eyes, it was not
conducted in the spirit of enlightenment.  {142} In spite of his
inferences, Nietsche has not described the matter falsely:

The slave . . . loves as he hates, without _nuance_, to the very
depths, to the point of pain, . . . his many _hidden_ sufferings make
him revolt against the noble taste which seems to _deny_ suffering.
The scepticism with regard to suffering, fundamentally only an attitude
of an aristocratic morality, was not the least of the causes, also, of
the last great slave insurrection which began with the French

Insurrection, in other words, is the flat, downright, and unqualified
affirmation of interests to which those in charge of affairs have
denied existence.  It is a flash in the eyes of those who will not see;
a blast in the ears of those who will not hear.  Insurrection asserts
_only_ the interests that have been neglected; hence, though it brings
_new_ light, that light for lack of which the world went in darkness,
it is careless and blind in its own way, and does not concern itself
with restoring the balance.  But, as Nietsche prefers not to
comprehend, insurrection demonstrates beyond question the bankruptcy of
aristocratic morality; discredits it as effectually, and in the same
way, as new evidence discredits old theories.

These, then, are the two complementary methods through which
rationality gets itself progressively established: through the
imagination and foresight of constructive minds, and through the
protest or uprising of neglected interests.


I must mention briefly, before leaving this general topic, an accessory
condition on which this internal principle of progress depends for its
effectual working.  It is necessary that the life of society should be
unbroken; that its achievements should be preserved and accumulated
from generation to generation.  This is provided for in the permanence
of records, monuments, and institutions; but these are of less
consequence than the _continuity of tradition_.  Generations of men do
not come into being and pass away like regiments in marching order.
There is no present generation; unless one arbitrarily selects those of
a certain age to represent the spirit of the day.  He who is born now,
enters into the midst of a social life in which the present is blended
with the past through the interpenetration of individual lives of every
stage of maturity.  The threads are innumerably many, and their length
is but threescore years and ten; but there is no place at which more
than a few end, so that they are woven into one continuous and seamless
fabric.  It does not exceed the facts, then, to say that the life of
society is one life, which may gather headway, increase in wealth, and
profit by experience.  Through this continuity society may learn, as
the individual organism does, by the method of trial and error.  Costly
blunders need not be repeated, and the waste involved {144} in untried
experiments may steadily be reduced.  Furthermore, the advance is by
geometrical, and not merely by arithmetical progression.  Every
discovery and achievement is multiplied in fruitfulness through being
added to the capital stock and reinvested in fresh enterprises.


Human progress, thus determined by the movement of life towards its
more rational, that is, more provident, organization, is attended in
all its stages with a very significant difference of emphasis.  I refer
to the old conflict between _conservatism_ and _radicalism_.  If this
were merely a difference of temperamental bias, it would not need to
detain us.  But it is really an opposition between exaggerated truths,
in which each is boldly and impressively defined.

The truth of conservatism lies, first, in its love of the existing
order.  Every established form of social life has had a certain
wholeness and strength and perfection of its own.  This is as true of
savagery as it is of any type of civilization.  Interests are in
equilibrium, and are guaranteed security within certain limits that are
generally understood.  In other words, _at least a measure of
fulfilment may be counted on_.  The conservative is right in valuing
this as a prodigious achievement.  He knows that disorder is ruin, not
to {145} any class, but to all; the paralysis, if not the absolute
destruction, of all fruitful activities.

And secondly, conservatism proclaims the truth that since order
conditions all activity, it is impossible to promote human welfare
except by using order.  The enemy of order threatens to destroy the
instruments of power, and so to make himself weak and helpless with the
rest.  The conservative understands the real delicacy of these
instruments, and the difficulty of remodelling them while still forced
to use them.  For nothing puts so great a strain on society as
progress.  It tends to destroy its rigidity, to dull its edge, and to
spoil the fine adjustment without which so complex an organization
cannot function.  There could be no human life whatsoever, and still
less a progressive life, were not the great mass of men content to
remain steadily in their places, and so form parts of a stable
structure.  An organization cannot actually _work_ until it is in

Now while the conservative fears to "swap horses while crossing the
stream," the radical reminds him that if he does not do so he will
never gain the farther shore.  The conservative is satisfied to sit
firmly in the saddle, but the radical thinks only of the long distance
yet to go.  There is a common misconception as to who is the real
radical, the real menace to this existing order.  {146} He is not the
sceptic, but _the man with a purpose_; the man who believes in the
possibility of better things, and so has a motive impelling him to
abolish and reconstruct the present things.  The sceptic, who holds all
order to be conventional and arbitrary, is as well satisfied with one
system as another.  His natural course is a cynical acquiescence in the
inveterate folly of mankind.  Or, finding order convenient, and fearing
that its true groundlessness will be exposed if it be made a matter for
discussion, he advocates blind obedience to the authority of the day.
Hence the disillusioned, especially if they occupy positions of power
in church or state or trade, may be counted on as the leaders of
conservative policy.  The typical radical, on the other hand, is
Socrates, who censured the men of his time because they were satisfied
with something short of the best; and who was condemned because he
offered men _a good reason_ for reorganizing life.

The radical, like the conservative, is right.  He is right, in the
first place, because he points out that the stability of the
established order is not proof of its finality.  It may be, indeed
always will be, largely due to habit.  Society forfeits a greater good
through mere inertia, through the tendency of any organization of
interests which runs smoothly and brings a steady return, to perpetuate
itself.  The radical is the critic of {147} custom, condemning it for
timidly clinging to the present good, and abandoning the original
intent of life to attain to the maximum.

The radical is right, secondly, because he protests that so long as
there is the least waste of life, the least wanton suppression or
destruction of interests, the work of civilization is not done.  He
represents those interests which under any system are most heavily
taxed, and presses for their relief.

Conservatism and radicalism, then, are the two half-truths into which
the principle of progress is divided by the propensity of every human
activity to override the mark, and by the confusion of mind that cannot
fail to attend so venturesome and bewildering an undertaking as


I have said that it is possible to measure progress because of the
persistence throughout the whole course of human history of certain
identical interests and purposes.  When such an interest or purpose is
sufficiently broad in its scope, and gets itself permanently embodied,
it is called an _institution_.  Thus _government_ embodies the need of
the general regulation of interests within the social community.
_Education_ is due to the individual's prolonged period of helplessness
and dependence, and the need of assimilating him to the order of his
time.  _Science_ is man's {148} knowledge of the ways of nature in
detail, when this is recorded, organized, and preserved as a permanent
utility answering to the permanent need of adaptation.  And _religion_
expresses in outer form the human need of reckoning with the final day
of judgment, of establishing right relations with the powers that
underly and overrule the proximate sphere of life.  There is no limited
number of institutions, but these are notable examples.  Government,
education, science, and religion are fixed moral necessities.  They
arise out of those conditions of life which are general and constant.
Hence each has a history coextensive with the history of society
itself.  And since the function of each remains identical throughout,
the adequacy with which at any given time it fulfils that function may
be taken as a measure of civilization.  Government being the most
prominent of institutions, and its improvement being the deepest
concern of society, I shall select it for special consideration.[5]

I have already referred to the Platonic account of government, given in
the _Republic_.  It furnishes the starting-point of all political
philosophy.  In the First and Second Books, Plato examines two contrary
sceptical criticisms of government, with a most illuminating result.
In the First Book the sceptic urges the view that government represents
the interest of the strong; {149} primarily of the ruler himself,
enabling him to aggrandize himself at the expense of the weak.  But in
the Second Book the sceptic is made to suggest that government
represents rather the interest of the weak, since it affords him a
protection which he is not strong enough to afford himself.  Now the
moral of this paradox lies in the fact that government represents the
interest neither of the strong nor of the weak, but of the community as
a whole.  This moral is virtually pointed in the reply which Plato
makes to the first of these two sceptical positions.  The ruler gains
his power and prestige not from the exploitation of the interests of
his subjects, but from his protection of them.  His activity touches
all the interests of the community, and is tolerated only in so far as
it conciliates them.  In other words, his strength is drawn wholly from
the constituency which he serves.  The many individual interests, on
the other hand, owe their security to that concentration and
organization which centres in the ruler.  They only participate in a
power which the ruler may exercise and enjoy as a unit.  But unless
that power be engaged in their service it ceases to exist.  It is not a
personal power, but a permanent function, through which the many
interests of society unite, and so share severally the security, glory,
and resourcefulness of the whole body.


Government in this sense is both a necessity and an opportunity.
Suppose men to be in contact through propinquity or common descent.
Divided among themselves they are prey to natural forces, wild beasts,
or human enemies.  But acting as a unit they are sufficiently strong to
protect themselves.  He who wields them as a unit to this end is for
the time-being the ruler; and to submit to his leadership is simply to
submit to the necessity of protection.  Or, divided among themselves,
they remain in a condition of poverty and fear; while united they can
wage an aggressive campaign against nature, and against those who
threaten them or possess what they lack.  Again, he who settles their
internal differences, accomplishes their organization, and makes it
effective, is their ruler; and he owes his authority to the opportunity
of conquest which his leadership affords.

The fact that government is thus of natural origin, the inevitable
solution of an inevitable problem, has been obscured through confusing
its general necessity with the accidental circumstances connected  with
the selection of rulers.  The first ruler may have been appointed by
God; or, as is more likely, he may have owed his choice to his own
brutal self-assertion.  But this has no more to do with the origin of
the function of government, than the present methods of ambitious {151}
politicians have to do with the constitutional office of a republican
presidency.  Government meets a moral need; and no man has ever ruled
over men who has not met that need, however cruel and greedy he may
have been in his private motives.

From the very beginning, then, government exists by virtue of the good
that it does.  But there have been enormous differences in the price
that men have paid for that good; and this constitutes its variable and
progressive factor.  Tyranny is, in the long run, the most unstable
form of government, because it grossly overestimates the amount that
men will pay for the benefit of order.  In the _Antigone_ of Sophocles,
Creon thus justifies his rule:

Than lawlessness there is no greater ill.  It ruins states, overturns
homes, and joining with the spear-thrust breaks the ranks in rout.  But
in the steady lines what saves most lives is discipline.  Therefore we
must defend the public order.

But when his son Haemon protests against his tyranny, Creon states his
understanding of the bargain:

  Govern this land for others than myself?

  No city is the property of one alone.

  Is not the city reckoned his who rules?

  Excellent ruling--you alone, the land deserted![6]

{152} In other words, Creon does not understand that if he exacts
everything he will possess nothing.  There will come a point when the
cost to the community exceeds the gain; and when that point is reached
government must either make more liberal terms or forfeit its power.

The principle of rationality in government is parsimony.  When its
benefit involves a wasteful sacrifice of interests and may be purchased
more thriftily, the pressure of interest inevitably in the long run
brings about the change.  The interests upon which the burden weighs
most heavily constitute the unstable factor, and since, in order that
equilibrium may be restored, these must be relieved, there is
necessarily a gradual liberalization of governmental institutions.  In
the light of these general considerations I wish briefly to examine
three historical types of government, and then to present a summary of
present tendencies.

There is an interesting estimate of the benefits and cost of the
_ancient military monarchy_ in the history of Israel, as recorded by
the writer of the Book of Samuel.  The elders have demanded that Samuel
make them a king, to judge them, "like all the nations."  But he first
warns them of the price that they will have to pay:

And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over
you: he will take your sons, and {153} appoint them unto him, for his
chariots, and to be his horsemen; and they shall run before his
chariots; and he will appoint them unto him for captains of thousands,
and captains of fifties; and he will set some to plow his ground, and
to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and the
instruments of his chariots. . . .  And he will take your fields, and
your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give
them to his servants. . . .  And he will take your men servants, and
your maid-servants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and
put them to his work.  He will take the tenth of your flocks: and ye
shall be his servants.  And ye shall cry out in that day because of
your king that ye shall have chosen you.

But the men of Israel were willing to pay even this price, saying:

Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the
nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and
fight our battles.[7]

The benefits of monarchy, in which Israel sought to emulate her
neighbors, were _judgment_ and _military prowess_.  Even where the
evils of tyranny were most aggravated these benefits actually accrued
and constituted a rational ground of authority.  The king was, at least
in a measure, worthy of his hire.  But the cost was extravagant; the
king exacted a disproportionate share of the plunder, and reduced his
subjects to a condition of personal bondage.  In the great monarchies,
such as Assyria, Egypt, Persia, and the Roman {154} Empire in its later
period, the benefits of his role were greatly attenuated before they
reached to the depths and extremities of his kingdom, judgment being
reduced to the caprice of an irresponsible officer, and military
prowess to a faint reflection of national glory.  Now the weakness of
such a polity lay in its doubtful value to the governed, these failing
to participate fairly in its achievements, and so lacking incentive to
support it.  There was no clear and convincing identification of
individual interest and national purpose.

The strength of Greek and Roman oligarchies, on the other hand, lay in
precisely this _morale_, or solidarity of interest.  Their small size
and racial homogeneity brought the ruler into direct relations with a
constituency which was clearly conscious of its purpose and held him
closely to it.  So even where the kingship lingered on as a form, this
polity was virtually a compact self-governing community.  The benefits
of government, to which every other interest was harshly subordinated,
were still judgment and military prowess.  But these benefits were
effectually guaranteed; and the sacrifices which they required became a
code of honor, both to be praised and gloried in as parts of happiness.
Those who think that the Spartans felt their discipline to be
essentially a hardship should read the song of Tyrtaeus, {155} which
they recited in their tents on the eve of battle:

With spirit let us fight for this land, and for our children die, being
no longer chary of our lives.  Fight, then, young men, standing fast
one by another, nor be beginners of cowardly flight or fear.  But rouse
a great and valiant spirit in your breasts, and love not life when ye
contend with men.  And the elders, whose limbs are no longer active,
the old desert not or forsake.  For surely this were shameful, that
fallen amid the foremost champions, in front of the youths, an older
man should lie low, having his head now white and his beard hoary,
breathing out a valiant spirit in the dust. . . .  Yet all this befits
the young while he enjoys the brilliant bloom of youth.  To mortal men
and women he is lovely to look upon, whilst he lives; and noble when he
has fallen in the foremost ranks.[8]

But the cost is none the less heavy because it is not felt.  In the
first place, there was the cost untold to those whom the oligarchy held
in subjection, a hundred thousand Messenians and twice as many Helots.
Their unequal participation in the benefits of government, necessary
though it may have been, lent instability to the whole polity.  It was
the menace of their resentment that forced upon their rulers a policy
of perpetual vigilance and military discipline.  And in the second
place, there was the cost to the Spartan himself of attaining to a
physical efficiency equal to that of ten Helots.


In the rival polity of Athens, the first of these abuses is only in a
measure corrected.  The liberal extension of the privileges of
citizenship is the achievement of a later age.  But the democracy of
Athens did demonstrate the internal wastefulness of a polity dominated
by purely military aims.  The classic representation of this protest
against sacrificing individual taste and capacity, together with all
growth and abundance in the arts of peace, to the harsh rigors and
passive obedience of a soldier's life, is to be found in Thucydides.
In the funeral oration attributed to Pericles there is this account of
the superiority of Athenian institutions:

It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in
the hands of the many and not of the few.  But while the law secures
equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, the claim of
excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way
distinguished, he is preferred to the public service. . . .  And we
have not forgotten to provide for our weary spirits many relaxations
from toil; we have regular games and sacrifices throughout the year; at
home the style of our living is refined; and the delight which we daily
feel in all these things helps to banish melancholy. . . .  And in the
matter of education, whereas they [the Spartans] from early youth are
always undergoing laborious exercises which are to make them brave, we
live at ease, and yet are equally ready to face the perils which they
face. . . .  If then we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but
without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit
and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the gainers?  Since we do
not anticipate the {157} pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be
as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; and thus too our
city is equally admirable in peace and in war.  For we are lovers of
the beautiful, yet simple in our tastes, and we cultivate the mind
without loss of manliness.[9]

The political disorders of later Athenian history illustrate the
difficulty of reconciling individualism with order and stability.  But
at the same time they prove that the task is a necessary one, and that
until it has been successfully performed, government can enjoy at best
only a false security.  For no interests can safely be neglected, least
of all those which arise from the natural activities of men and lie in
the direction of the normal growth of human capacities.

Now these ancient polities illustrate the inevitable pressure in the
direction of liberal government.  The original and always the
fundamental values of government are _order_ and _power_.  But these
must be obtained with the minimum of personal exploitation on the part
of the ruler; the function of government must be clearly understood and
vigilantly guarded by a body of citizens who identify their interests
with it.  And secondly, order and power must be made compatible with
individual initiative, with playfulness and leisure, and with the free
development of all worthy interests.  This pressure has been steadily
operative in the evolution of modern political institutions.


But there has also been another force at work of equally far-reaching
importance.  This force is the modern idea of democracy, in which
_justice is modified by good-will_.  With the ancients justice meant
"that every man should practise one thing only, that being the thing to
which his nature was most perfectly adapted." [10]  Equality upon the
highest plane of human capacity was limited even in theory to a
privileged class.  But since the advent of Christianity it has never
been possible for European society to acquiesce with good conscience in
a limited distribution of the benefits of civilization.  For the new
enlightenment teaches that when men's potentialities are considered,
rather than their present condition, _there are no classes_.  As a
consequence men demand representation not for what they are, but for
what they may become if given their just opportunity.  The body of
citizens whose good is the final end of government virtually includes,
then, all men without exception.  It is no longer possible simply to
dismiss large groups of human beings from consideration on grounds of
what is held to be their unfitness.  For they now demand that they be
made fit.  Burke expresses this enlightenment when he says, in speaking
of the lower strata of society:

As the blindness of mankind has caused their slavery, in return their
state of slavery is made a pretence of keeping them in a state of
blindness; for {159} the politician will tell you gravely, that their
life of servitude disqualifies the greater part of the race of man for
a search of truth, and supplies them with no other than mean and
insufficient ideas.  This is but too true; and this is one of the
reasons for which I blame such institutions.[11]

And so does every man now demand of the community as a whole that he
shall be permitted to share equally in its benefits, and also, in order
that his claims may be represented, that he shall have a voice in its
councils.  Do not misunderstand me.  I do not mean that all men,
therefore, must here and now be held to be equal; but only that they
must be held to be capable of being as good as the best until they have
demonstrated the contrary by forfeiting their opportunity.  Nor do I
mean that all men must therefore be given the ballot.  We are
discussing a question not of instrument, but of principle.  I do mean
that there is an idea that the best of life is for all; and that if
there are many that are incapable of entering into it, then they must
be helped to be capable.  And I mean, furthermore, that _this idea
works irresistibly_.  It commands the support of the whole army of
interests.  It will never be abandoned because it makes for the
increase of life on the whole; and hence no social order will from
henceforth be stable that is not based upon it.

This idea that all men alike shall be the beneficiaries of government,
when taken together {160} with the ancient ideas that government shall
be directly responsible to its beneficiaries, and shall make as liberal
an allowance as possible for their individual claims and opinions,
constitutes the general principle upon which the progressive modern
state is founded.  Let me briefly recapitulate certain characteristics
of the modern state[12] which indicate its recognition of this
principle, and hence its advance on the whole over earlier types.

1.  In the first place, the modern state is essentially a territorial
rather than a racial or proprietary unit.  In other words, it is
clearly defined as a necessity and utility arising out of the
circumstance of propinquity.  If men are to cast in their lot together
they must submit to organization, and obey laws promulgated in the
interest of the community as a whole.  To-day men understand that if
they had no government it would be necessary to invent one; that the
existing government, whatever divinity doth hedge it, is thus virtually
the instrument of their needs.

2.  Secondly, this moral function of government is emphasized through
being largely freed from personal or dynastic connections and expressed
as a constitutional office.

3.  Thirdly, the requirements of justice and good-will are reconciled
with order through the principle of representation.  Without this {161}
principle it would be impossible for societies large enough to afford
men protection, to admit all men to a share in their positive benefits
and to a voice in their councils.  Representative government is a
method of political procedure through which authority is made
answerable in the long run to all interests within its jurisdiction.
The more recent tendencies in democratic communities to modify the
representative system indicate the direction in which the pressure of
interests is still urging society forward.  It is no longer a question
merely of the extension of the suffrage, but of directness and
publicity.  The procedure of government being recognized as of vital
importance to all citizens, it must be straightforward and
businesslike, with its books constantly open to inspection.  The
present distrust in elected representatives is not a sign of reaction,
but of the evolution of the democratic intelligence.  Where the
machinery of representation becomes wasteful and clumsy, it ceases to
serve the community.  But this may mean either direct legislation, that
is, a direct participation in public affairs by the people at large, or
the intrusting of these affairs to a few conspicuously responsible
agents selected for their businesslike competence and owing their
tenure of office to the consent of their constituency.  These methods
are entirely consistent with one another; and they owe their {162}
adoption entirely to their better execution of the intent of democracy.
Both presuppose that political authority is empowered by all the
interests of the community to serve them, and that these interests
shall in the end decide whether or not that service is adequately

4.  Fourthly, the modern state lays a constantly greater stress on
questions of internal policy, thus emphasizing its basal function of
conserving and fostering the interests directly committed to its
charge.  It is less occupied with war, and more occupied with
education, sanitation, the conservation of national resources, and the
regulation of commerce and industry.

5.  Fifthly, the sequel to this is the growing recognition of the folly
and wastefulness of war.  War is becoming a last resort, a hard
necessity, rather than an opportunity of national glory.  The growth of
the idea of international peace, and the improvement and extension of
the method of arbitration, are evidence of a yielding to the weight of
the collective interests of humanity.  They prove the priority of the
principle of construction over that of destruction, and the essentially
thrifty and provident function of the state.

The present form of progressive political institutions will serve as an
index of the times and a pledge of the future.  It reflects better than
any other element of civilization that growth of {163} liberality and
solidifying of interests which is the deep current of progress.  Human
society is becoming one enterprise, provident of all existing interests
and covetous of the best.  Now I know that this is to many but a dreary
spectacle.  There are those who feel diminished by it, overwhelmed by
numbers, and degraded to the low level of average capacity and average
attainment.  Therefore I wish in conclusion to deal further with this
spirit of the age, to guard it against misunderstanding, and make its
fine quality more apparent.


It is charged that modern democracy is contrary to enlightenment
through subordinating the strong man to the multitude of weak men, or
the wise man to the multitude of ignorant men.  But the modern idea of
justice is based fundamentally neither on the mere sentiment of pity
nor on fear of the mob, but on love of truth, and respect for all
organs that mediate it.  Society cannot afford forcibly to repress the
judgment of any individual or class, lest her deeds be deeds of
darkness.  The task of good living is a task of well-nigh overwhelming
difficulty, because it requires that no interest shall be ignored, and
yet that all interests shall be in unison.  Interests left out of the
account will inevitably assert themselves, and through their steady
pressure or {164} violent impact destroy the organization which has
excluded them.  Hence the need of an order that shall provide for its
own gradual correction; stable enough for security, and pliant enough
to yield without shock to the claims of neglected or abused interests.

This need underlies the modern sentiment of tolerance, and the love of
all the liberties that give a hearing to any sincere demand: freedom of
speech and press, the wide distribution of the franchise, and of
opportunity for power.  Contrary to a theory that philosophers have
done much to support, democracy is not a method of confounding
intelligence with the clamor of many voices, but a method of correcting
the single intelligence by the report of whatever other intelligence
may be most advantageously related to the matter at issue.  Human
intelligence must operate from a centre, and must always overcome an
initial bias due to familiarity and proximity.  The consensus of
opinion, or public opinion, is not essentially a composite opinion, but
a corrected opinion in which such accidents of locality cancel one
another.  The following justification of democracy, formulated by
Matthew Arnold, lays bare its insistent and wholly incontrovertible

If experience has established any one thing in this world, it has
established this: that it is well for any {165} great class or
description of men in society to be able to say for itself what it
wants, and not to have other classes, the so-called educated and
intelligent classes, acting for it as its proctors, and supposed to
understand its wants and to provide for them.  They do not really
understand its wants, they do not really provide for them.  A class of
men may often itself not either fully understand its own wants or
adequately express them; but it has a nearer interest and a more sure
diligence in the matter than any of its proctors, and therefore a
better chance of success.[13]

This conception of democracy has come latterly to be as fine a point of
honor as any article in the code of chivalry or noblesse.  The
arrogance that claims a superiority of class, and the obsequiousness
that loves a lord, all this Nietschean "pathos of distance," whether
felt from the heights or the depths, is sharply repugnant to a new
gentility, that embraces all that have had the joy of promiscuous
social intercourse.  From this aristocracy no one is excluded that does
not exclude himself through servility or superciliousness.  Its
distinction is liberality, that is, the habit of disputing questions
and judging persons on their merits, with due allowance for that never
wholly negligible possibility that the other man is right.  Among those
who are united by this spirit, there is one joke that is an unfailing
touchstone and bond of union--the institution of _lèse-majesté_.  It is
a matter for unquenchable laughter, {166} that superiority should
require to be protected against inferiority by the enforced signs of
respect, or by a hedge of reserve.

It is the ridiculousness of the haughty or the prostrate manner that is
absolutely fatal to it.  And its ridiculousness appears at the moment
when you let in the light.  Class elevation is pretence, not
superiority; complacence, not wisdom; impudence, not power.  But the
contempt of the just man for the unjust is edged with knowledge.  It
arises out of a sense for things as they are: a recognition of the
breadth and intricacy of life, compared with the pitifully small
understanding of those who propose to regulate it on their own
authority; of the vivid reality and worth of interests that do not
exist for those whose claims are absolute, but who are only the hapless
victims of a narrow and warping tradition.

Many think that the modern democracy is too easy-going; too much
infected with charity.  Now it is quite true that it means that no
interest whatsoever shall be cut off through being forgotten or lightly
estimated.  The conscience of to-day expresses the persuasion that
there is no stable happiness in any activity which entails cruelty,
which has any other motive than to save.  But this is no more than the
full meaning of the Platonic dictum that "the injuring of another can
be in no case just." [14]  This sensitiveness to {167} life that is
remote or obscure, this feeling for the whole wide manifold of
interests, is not a weakness; it is enlightenment, a lively awareness
of what is really relevant to the task of civilization.  To imagine and
think life collectively, with all its interests abreast, is only to
measure up roundly and proportionately to the practical situation as it
actually is.  Upon a mind thus alive to the whole spectacle there at
once flashes the awkwardness here, the waste there, as of an enterprise
only begun.  Let me allow another to interpret this latter-day
conscience.  I quote from _First and Last Things_, written by Wells:

I see humanity scattered over the world, dispersed, conflicting,
unawakened. . . .  I see human life as avoidable waste and curable
confusion.  I see peasants living in wretched huts knee-deep in manure,
mere parasites on their own pigs and cows; I see shy hunters wandering
in primeval forests; I see the grimy millions who slave for industrial
perfection; I see some who are extravagant and yet contemptible
creatures of luxury . . .  I see gamblers, fools, brutes, toilers,
martyrs.  Their disorder of effort, the spectacle of futility, fills me
with a passionate desire to end waste, to create order, to develop
understanding. . . .  All these people reflect and are part of the
waste and discontent of my life, and this coordinating of the species
in a common general end, and the effort of my personal salvation are
the social and the individual aspect of essentially the same desire.[15]

But it must not be thought that this is a matter of mere creature
comfort, of distributing staple {168} benefits for which men already
have the appetite.  For every step in the organization of life is
attended with the growth of new interests, and especially of interests
fostered or directly evoked by principles that have proved their moral
virtue.  Thus the forms of prudence and justice are supported by the
immediate love of these things.  And a growing rationality involves an
increasing subtlety and delicacy in desires, the enrichment of life
through the multiplication of such sources of satisfaction as are
consistent with order and liberality.  The true democracy is
considerate not only of present interests, but also of the potentiality
and promise of life.

Only when the imagination pictures life in these terms is it possible
to avoid a sense of ignominy and irresponsibility.  And, contrary to a
common misconception, there is no other attitude that can reconcile one
to the unavoidable participation in the common life of all men.  Only
when thus united with one's fellows in a spirited and ennobling
enterprise can one endure their fellowship.  Comrades in arms are not
fastidious.  If one confines one's self, on the other hand, to a
cultivation of one's rarity, or to a company of choice spirits, not
only do these values themselves grow stale and vanish away, but the
remainder of mankind becomes a crowd, and civilization a tumult.  The
collective life of {169} mankind ceases to be jarring and repugnant
only at the moment when one enters into it and becomes infused with its

There will be some in whom this prospect arouses no eagerness.  The
wise men of any day are, of course, agreed among themselves that the
times are bad--that they are likely to be still worse after they, the
remnant, have departed.  But this is an opinion which most men acquire
when they attain to maturity, and happily the world has long since seen
that they cannot help it, and learned on that account not to take it to
heart.  The part of Cassandra is always being played somewhere by a
gentleman of middle age with a ripe experience of life.  But in any
serious judgment concerning progress this bias of maturity must be
overcome by the use of the imagination, by a rational estimate of human
affairs in their broad sweep, or, if necessary, by an infusion of
youthfulness.  We shall wait long if we wait

  "Till old experience do attain
  To something like prophetic strain."

There is a more serious cause of hopelessness, in the complexity of
modern civilization.  Its very teeming life, its wealth, its
multiplicity of activities and passions, overwhelm the mind in its
moments of fatigue like a devouring chaos.  One longs for the day when
the house of {170} civilization shall be completed, so that one may
dwell in it in peace.

We are, it is true, in a time when there is still rough work to be
done.  But it is not blind work.  Never has society been so clear as to
its several special ends, never has so little effort been due to chance
or compulsion.  Nor is it ineffective work; for man now works with good
tools and the help of many hands.  And there is consolation in the fact
that the foundations of civilization are laid wide and deep in charity
and welfare.  There remains the perpetual task of re-establishing a
spiritual order which has been strained and wracked by the heaving of
many forces.  But when the sanctuaries and altars are restored it will
prove to be a new order, richer, more liberal, and more complete than
any since men began to live.




There are certain human activities which not only are of special
interest on their own account, but also hold a position of pre-eminence
in civilization.  Such are science, philosophy, the love of nature,
politics, friendly intercourse, and fine art.  The last of these
activities enjoys a peculiar distinction because it is monumental.  It
not only calls into play all of the more refined capacities, but also
records itself in permanent and worthy form.  Hence the fine art of any
period comes to be taken as an index of its remove from savagery.

In submitting fine art to moral criticism, I shall use it as the best
representative of the whole class of activities which I have just
described.  If we have not been wholly astray in our analysis of the
good, it should appear that these activities owe their pre-eminence not
to their bare quality or tone, but to their humanity, that is, to their
connection with a harmonious, just, and progressive state of society.


It is hard for a moralist to approach such a subject without timidity,
especially if he is concerned with his reputation for enlightenment.
For there are many who think that it is a mark of intellectual
emancipation to abandon moral standards altogether when dealing with
the fine arts.  Life itself, they remind us, is only the greatest of
the fine arts; and if life can be called beautiful, the last word has
been said.  The man of taste and delicate sensibility is thus empowered
to overrule the moralist, and replace with his ideal of grace and
symmetry the harsh and clumsy scruples of conscience.  Now it is
doubtless true that when life is good, it is also beautiful; a life in
which every activity is true, in which the medium of opportunity is
formed to accord with the most noble purpose, may well exhibit a
superlative grace and symmetry.  But to be beautiful, life must be good
_in its own way_; and the principles which define that way are the
principles of morality.  Furthermore, in order that life shall be
beautiful it must be made an object of perception or contemplation;
while, in order to be good, it must be lived.  And the principles which
define the living of life are moral.

The confusion of goodness with beauty is, therefore, doubly
stultifying.  On the one hand, it substitutes for the moral conception
of value conceptions that morally are indeterminate.  For {173} grace
and symmetry may be exhibited by life on any plane whatsoever, provided
only that it acquires stability.  Indeed, one who aims above all things
to make his life beautiful, ought consistently to abandon the moral
effort to bring life to its maximum of fulfilment, and cultivate
perfection of form within the sphere of least resistance.  It is
proverbial that many lower forms of life are more beautiful than man,
but it is not always seen that these are the stationary forms of life,
wholly lacking in that principle of rational reconstruction which is
the condition of moral goodness.  On the other hand, the confusion of
goodness with beauty tends to substitute appreciation for action, and
thus to make of life a spectacle rather than an enterprise.  Thus to
replace ethical with aesthetic conceptions is to take the heart out of
morality.  Beauty is precisely as relevant to moral goodness as it is
to truth; and if investigators were taught to devise the prettiest
theory imaginable, the result would be no more fatal to knowledge than
is aesthetic sentimentalism to life.  To think conformably with reality
is knowledge, and to act conformably with all interests is life.  If
beauty is to be added unto truth and goodness, it must come as the
natural sequel to a single-minded fidelity to these motives.

But even if it be true that moral standards are absolutely independent
of the standards proper {174} to art, it is not yet clear that the
moralist is justified in regarding his standards as more fundamental
than those of art.  He may be politely but positively informed that he
is not to trespass.  Now I feel that, after what has preceded, I am
fortified against the charge of impertinence.  Art is subject to moral
criticism, because morality is nothing more nor less than the law which
determines the whole order of interests, within which art and every
other good thing is possible.  It will scarcely be denied that art is
an expression of interest, that both its creation and its enjoyment are
activities, moods, or phases of life; and it follows that before this
specific interest can be safely or adequately satisfied, it is
necessary to fulfil the general conditions that underlie the
satisfaction of all interests.  It is as absurd to speak of art for
art's sake as it is to speak of drinking for drinking's sake, if you
mean that this interest is entitled to entirely free play.  Art, like
all other interests, can flourish only in a sound and whole society,
and the law of soundness and wholeness in life is morality.

The claim of art to exemption from moral criticism is commonly due to
one or both of these two forms of misapprehension.

In the first place, it is assumed that morality, too, is a special
interest; and that if the artist or connoisseur lets the moralist
alone, it is no more {175} than fair that the moralist should let him

But this assumption is false; as false as though the athlete were to
chafe at the warnings of his medical adviser on the ground that general
health was irrelevant to endurance or strength or agility.  Now,
doubtless, an athlete may for a time neglect his general health with no
noticeable diminution of his skill; but that is only because he already
possesses the health to abuse.  It still remains true that the
principles of health which the trainer represents are the principles
upon which his skill is fundamentally based.  Nature has made him
healthy according to these principles, and he simply does not recognize
his debt to them.  Similarly, art may flourish in spite of the neglect
of social and individual well-being, so that the pleadings of the moral
advocate seem irrelevant; but this is possible only because the social
order is already established, and the personality formed, according to
the very principles which the moralist is announcing.  Art may
dissipate moral health, but it nevertheless lives only by virtue of
such a source of supply.  The basal condition of art is not the element
of social evil or morbid temperament that may attract attention, but
the measure of soundness that nevertheless remains.

The second misapprehension that lends plausibility to the excuses of
art is the assumption that {176} the moralist is proposing to
_substitute_ his canons for those of art.  Now it is entirely true that
moral insight in no way equips one for connoisseurship.  There is a
special aptitude and training that enables one to discriminate in such
matters.  But the moralist is judging art _on moral grounds_.  Hence he
does not say, "I see that your painting is ugly"; but he does say, "I
see that your painting, which you esteem beautiful (and I take your
word for it), is _bad_."  In the same way the moralist does not say to
the self-indulgent man, "I see that you are not having a good time"
(the self-indulgent man is likely to know better); but he says, "I see
that it is bad for you to be having this particular kind of good time."
In other words, for the moralist larger issues are at stake, and he is
considering these on the grounds proper to them.  He is charged with
defining and applying the principles which determine the good of
interests on the whole; and while his conclusions can never replace
those of the expert within a special field, they will always possess
authority to overrule them.


Since we are to be occupied mainly with the bearing of art on morality,
I wish so far as possible to avoid debatable questions concerning the
origin and ultimate meaning of art.  But we {177} cannot proceed
without agreeing on a use of terms.  I shall attempt, therefore, to
give a straightforward and empirical account of that which comes to be
called art in the history of civilization.[1]

We have already had occasion to observe that from the very beginning
life adapts the environment to its uses; that is, gives to matter and
to mechanical processes a new form in which these fulfil interest.
Thus an area of land deforested and cultivated, or two stones so hewn
and fitted as to afford a grinding surface, take on the imprint of the
human need for food.  Now such reorganizations of nature as the farm or
the mill, however crude they may be, are works of art in the broadest
sense.  And in this same sense all the tools, furniture, and panoply of
civilization, from the most primitive to the most highly evolved,
whatever without exception owes its form to its fulfilment of an
interest, may with entire propriety be called art.

In the great majority of cases the work of art after being made is
_used_; that is, it becomes an instrument in the making of something
else.  Such art is called useful or _industrial art_.  But it sometimes
happens that the work of art is valued, not as an instrument in the
ordinary practical sense, but simply as an object to be experienced.
In the Scriptural account of creation it is said that "God saw
everything that he had {178} made, and, behold, it was good."  When the
products of activity are thus found good in the beholding of them they
become works of _fine art_.

It would be improper sharply to divorce these two motives, or to make
one any more original than the other.  The interest in the exercise of
the sensibilities, or other powers of apprehension, is doubtless as
primitive as any of the special interests of the organism; and it is
improbable that man ever made anything without getting some
satisfaction from looking at it or handling it or feeling it.  Commonly
the same object is both useful and beautiful; as was the case with the
primitive religious dance, which at the same time indulged a taste for
rhythm and served as a means of propitiating the gods.

But the motive of fine art becomes clearer when it is purer.  Objects
are then made with explicit reference to the interest taken in
apprehending them.  I do not mean that they cannot on that account be
useful, for without doubt utility itself contributes to beauty; but
only that they owe their form primarily to the aesthetic interest.  The
motive of fine art in its purity appears when special materials are
selected on account of their plasticity and their appeal to the more
highly developed senses.  Fine arts that employ one medium are now
separated and perfected through the cultivation of expert proficiency.
{179} Thus there arise such arts as painting and music, one of which
gives form to light and appeals to the eye, while the other gives form
to sound and appeals to the ear.  In this way society comes to acquire
and accumulate objects which are designed, either wholly or in part,
with reference to the special aesthetic interest.  They are the
creatures of this interest, and their place in life is determined by
it.  To understand their importance and to estimate their moral value
it is therefore necessary to isolate this interest and examine it with
some care.[2]

By the aesthetic interest I mean to refer to the interest that is taken
in the work of fine art by the observer.  There is undoubtedly a
special interest in creation, but it is of relatively small importance.
Even the artist is controlled largely by the interest in observing his
own work; and art is a serious social concern only because of its
appeal to the unlimited number of persons who may enjoy it without
having any hand in the making.  Now, in the passing allusion which I
have made to the aesthetic interest, I have already used the term which
is most convenient for purposes of general definition.  The aesthetic
interest is _the interest in apprehension_.  What I mean by this will
become clear when I compare it with two other interests which may also
be taken in the content of experience.  There is, in the first {180}
place, what is called the practical interest, that is, the interest in
an object on account of what can be done with it by manipulation or
combination with other objects.  Secondly, there is the theoretical
interest in the structure of reality, manifesting itself in the
exploration of the object and its context.  Now the interest in
apprehension is not an interest in what can be done with the object,
nor in its real structure, but in _the present conscious reaction to
it_.  One may take all three of these interests in the same object.
Thus if I pluck the flower and take it home to my wife, I give evidence
of a practical interest in it; if I kneel down and examine it
carefully, I suggest the botanist; while if I continue to gaze at it
where it lies, it would appear that I enjoy simply looking at it.  It
is this interest simply in looking at things, in just the perceiving,
feeling, thinking, or imagining them, that I mean to sum up as the
interest in apprehension, or the aesthetic interest.  When objects
excite this interest, when, that is, any state or process of
consciousness of which they are the content tends to be prolonged for
its own sake, they are said to be beautiful.  And objects which are
deliberately and artificially invested with a peculiar capacity to
excite this interest are works of fine art.

I shall not undertake to explain the interest in apprehension further
than to describe certain {181} typical forms which it assumes.  These
forms will serve not only to illustrate its general meaning, but also
to amplify that meaning in a manner that will prove important when we
come to the discussion of moral questions.  The forms which I shall
mention are by no means exhaustive of the possible forms of the
interest in apprehension, while the order that I shall follow is only
roughly the order of increasing complexity.

There is, in the first place, an interest in _sensation_.  I do not, of
course, mean to assert that any state of purely sensuous enjoyment is
possible; but only that the senses have a certain bias of their own
which will modify every state in which they are called into play.
There is a delight of the eye and ear, a pleasantness to the touch, an
agreeableness of taste and smell, wholly without reference to anything
beyond.  The arts which employ any of these senses must satisfy their
bias, however much they may appeal to higher faculties; nothing which
rankly offends them can by any possible means be made beautiful.  Thus
painting must be charming in color, and music in tone; and certain
colors and tones are charming for no deeper reason than that which
makes certain foods palatable.

The interest in _perception_[3] assumes special prominence in the great
visual art of painting.  For the process of perception is most
elaborated {182} in connection with the sense of vision, this being
peculiarly the human organ of watchfulness and orientation.  The
interest in perception is the interest in completing the sensation or
rounding it into an object or situation with the aid of thought and
imagination.  In painting, as most commonly in life, the stimulus is
visual--texture, perspective, or a quality of light.

The _emotional_ form of apprehension plays the predominant part in
representations of human action, in music, and in the appreciation of
nature.  It is in this latter connection that we can, I think, best
understand it; and I propose for purposes of illustration to record an
experience of my own.

I walked one night on the deck of a steamer plying between New York and
Bermuda, and gave myself up wholly to the aspect of nature.  The moon
shone brightly half-way between the horizon and zenith, and opened a
path of light from where I stood to the uttermost distance.  With
half-closed eyes I watched the hard lustre of the waves, or turned from
this to the smooth roll of the foam turned up by the steamer's prow.
And I remember that I seemed to dwell upon these things with an instant
relish, like that with which my lungs devoured the fresh and plentiful
air.  But when I looked towards the moon along the path of light, there
was something that stirred me more deeply.  The prospect of an endless
journey opened {183} out before me, like an invitation to live, or a
fulness of opportunity.  And I seemed to leap in response, rejoicing in
my power.  But I did not act; it was as though I already achieved and
possessed.  Presently I turned from the path of light to the blackness
that beset it on every side.  In this blackness there seemed to lurk
every kind of unknown danger; I was moved with a sense of helplessness,
and shrank from the thought of being deserted there.  And yet though I
was afraid, the fear never seemed to _possess_ me, but always to be
possessed _by_ me, as mine to prolong and exult in as I would.

Now I think that the interpretation of my dream is this.  Deeply
implanted in the organism are certain co-ordinated responses such as
courage and fear, or such as love, hate, combativeness, pity, and
emulation.  They may owe their present form to habit, but they are all
rooted in instinct, and so call the body into play as a unit.[4]
Primarily they are plans of action, through which the organism promptly
deals with practical emergencies.  But it is possible for man to detach
himself from overt motor relations with his environment; and in this
case these responses return as it were into the body and reverberate
there, taking on a purely emotional form which may be valued for
itself.  Thus courage and fear may lead to no act of bravery or
caution, but {184} remain simply _experiences_ of courage and fear,
promoted and treasured by the imagination.  Nature will probably remain
the object which evokes these responses most keenly, because nature is
the hereditary environment towards which they were originally directed.
But human action is scarcely less moving.  Hence dramatic art, or the
representation of social and moral confrontations, will both arouse and
prolong the old passions, thus evoking a deeper and more massive
response than the play of the senses.

I fully recognize that the value of dramatic art is by no means limited
to its emotional appeal.  I contend only that it does make such an
appeal, and that it owes to that appeal, to its evoking of sympathy,
love, or hate, to its stirring of incipient action, the peculiar
intensity and reverberance of the enjoyment which it affords.  The same
holds true, I think, of poetry generally, where this deals with life.
The case of music is more doubtful.  It is generally agreed that the
enjoyment of music has never been adequately accounted for, albeit it
is probably more ancient than man.  But that music does arouse the
great emotions, and owe its popularity mainly to that fact, can
scarcely be questioned.  It is only necessary to add that over and
above this appeal, as well as its appeal to the ear and to an
intellectual apprehension of its technical forms, it seems to {185} be
capable of developing emotions of its own; that is, experiences which
do not coincide with the instinctive emotions, but which have a like
massiveness and organic reverberation.  It may be, as Walter Pater
insists, that in this respect "all art constantly aspires towards the
condition of music." [5]  But this does not contradict the fact that
such arts _are_ emotionally stimulating, will always stir men as men
are capable of being stirred, and in society at large will make their
main appeal to the fundamental and constant emotions, cultivating the
enjoyment of love, fear, and the other elemental passions for the very
poignancy and thrill of them.

For the intellectual type of apprehension I propose to employ the term
_discernment_.  I mean the apprehension of an _idea_ when conveyed by
some sensuous medium; the finding or recovery of some unity of thought
in a perceptual context.  When discernment in this sense is directly
agreeable without any ulterior motive, it is a special case of the
aesthetic interest.  From this interest the representative or pictorial
element in art derives its value.

Let me illustrate my meaning by referring to what Taine says of Greek

Here we have the living body, complete and without a veil, admired and
glorified, standing on its pedestal without scandal and exposed to all
eyes.  {186} What is its purpose, and what idea, through sympathy, is
the statue to convey to spectators?  An idea which, to us, is almost
without meaning because it belongs to another age and another epoch of
the human mind.  The head is without significance; unlike ours it is
not a world of graduated conceptions, excited passions, and a medley of
sentiments; the face is not sunken, sharp, and disturbed; it has not
many characteristics, scarcely any expression, and is generally in
repose. . . .  The contemporaries of Pericles and Plato did not require
violent and surprising effects to stimulate weary attention or to
irritate an uneasy sensibility.  A blooming and healthy body, capable
of all virile and gymnastic actions, a man or woman of fine growth and
noble race, a serene form in full light, a simple and natural harmony
of lines happily commingled, was the most animated spectacle they could
dwell on.  They desired to contemplate man proportioned to his organs
and to his condition and endowed with every perfection within these
limits; they demanded nothing more and nothing less; anything besides
would have struck them as extravagance, deformity, or disease.  Such is
the circle within which the simplicity of their culture kept them.[6]

In other words, Greek art expressed the rare quality of Greek life; its
naturalism, its compactness, its clearness.  And it did so
instinctively both to the artist and the spectator.  We are not to
think that because, in order to understand ancient art, it may be
necessary for us first to obtain a conception of life and then to match
it in art, this is essential to its appreciation.  On the contrary, the
object of art is not beautiful {187} until it flashes the idea upon us,
communicating an ideal unity that is not intellectually articulate at
all.  This must always be the effect upon contemporaries, in whom the
idea is so assimilated as to be unconscious.  But the idea is there
none the less; and the full beauty cannot exist for any one who is
incapable of discerning the idea, and rejoicing in the apprehension of

The incomparable excellence of Greek sculpture is due to a type of
genius in which clearness of mind and delicacy of touch are united.
Among the Greeks the term infinite was a term of disparagement; they
thought roundly and cleanly, thus preferring ideas to vague surmises.
This was their first gift.  And, adding to it a sensitiveness to form,
they were enabled to _express themselves_, without redundancy and
exaggeration, bringing whatever medium they employed into accord with
the idea.  It is this felicity and luminousness that gives to the art
of the Greeks a peculiar appeal to the intelligence.  For the mind
delights in definiteness and light.

But the Greek conception of life belongs to an age preceding the advent
of what has proved to be the European religion.  And Christianity has
so reconstructed the experience of the average man through its
sensitiveness to pain, and its emphasis on what is called "the inner
life," that I want further to illustrate the meaning of {188}
discernment in art, by referring to the representation of the spirit of
the Renaissance in the painting of Leonardo da Vinci.  I quote the
following from Pater's description of "La Gioconda":

The presence that thus rose so strangely beside the waters, is
expressive of what in the ways of a thousand years men had come to
desire.  Hers is the head upon which all "the ends of the world are
come," and the eyelids are a little weary.  It is a beauty wrought out
from within upon the flesh, the deposit, little cell by cell, of
strange thoughts and fantastic reveries and exquisite passions.  Set it
for a moment beside one of those white Greek goddesses or beautiful
women of antiquity, and how would they be troubled by this beauty, into
which the soul with all its maladies has passed.  All the thoughts and
experience of the world have etched and moulded there, in that which
they have of power to refine and make expressive the human form, the
animalism of Greece, the lust of Rome, the reveries of the middle age
with its spiritual ambition and imaginative loves, the return of the
pagan world, the sins of the Borgias.  She is older than the rocks
among which she sits; like the vampire, which has been dead many times,
and learned the secrets of the grave; and has been a diver in deep
seas, and keeps their fallen day about her; and trafficked for strange
webs with Eastern merchants; and, as Leda, was the mother of Helen of
Troy, and, as Saint Anne, the mother of Mary; and all this has been to
her but as the sound of lyres and flutes, and lives only in the
delicacy with which it has moulded the changing lineaments, and tinged
the eyelids and the hands.[7]

The power of Renaissance painting is not wholly a matter of color,
texture, modelling, and composition; for though it contains these and
many {189} sensuous and perceptual values besides, it conveys through
them with surpassing truth and delicacy ideas as evasive as they are
subtle and profound.  There is an ecstasy of mind in the discernment of
these ideas, and a blend of emotion that follows in their train, both
of which are conditioned by insight; that is, by a process that is
neither sensuous, perceptual, nor emotional merely, but, in an
additional sense, intellectual.

The interest in apprehension may thus be exhibited and satisfied in
divers ways, differing according to the special processes of
consciousness which they call into play.  And while it may be crude or
cultivated, it is safe to say that in all of its modes it is present to
some degree in every individual human life.  The simple-minded person
who hisses the villain of the melodrama, and he who takes pleasure in
the inevitableness of the Greek tragedy, are exhibiting the same
interest in the emotions evoked by the spectacle of life.  There is
only a difference of training and sophistication between the man who
enjoys a cheap chromo for the color or the "likeness," and one who
appreciates Velasquez's treatment of light or the characterization of
Franz Hals.

In the enjoyment of the highest forms of art these various modes of
apprehension will be united, each so contributing to the enhancement of
the {190} rest that it is impossible sharply to divide them.  Nor do I
venture any opinion as to which of these modes, if any, is fundamental
in the different arts or in fine art as a whole.  It is sufficient for
our purposes to know that art does exercise and develop human nature in
all of these ways.

We are now in a position to define a programme of criticism.  Art
thrives because it fulfils a complex and multiform interest.  It is
supported by an interest which it supplies with its proper objects.
Hence it falls within the circle of life where questions of prudence,
justice, and good-will are paramount.  But, because moral
considerations must thus in the nature of the case take precedence over
purely aesthetic considerations, this proves nothing whatsoever
concerning the way in which this precedence should be established.  It
was Plato's belief that society should employ a rigorous censorship,
and banish the offending poet:

We will fall down and worship him as a sweet and holy and wonderful
being; but we must also inform him that there is no place for such as
he is in our State--the law will not allow them.  And so when we have
anointed him with myrrh, and set a garland of wool upon his head, we
shall send him away to another city.[8]

But there is another way of protecting society from whatever may be the
evil effects of art, and that is to educate the individual and the
{191} community in their use of art.  This would mean, in place of a
regulation of the supply, a regulation of the demand.  It would mean
that the aesthetic interest itself, like every other interest within
the moral economy, should be so controlled as to make it as conducive
as possible to health and abundance of life.  The exercise or
cultivation of the interest in art would then, like the love of nature
or of social intercourse, be unlimited so far as its objects were
concerned, but limited through its relation to other interests within
the individual or community purpose.  But with this difference
concerning the proper remedy, the present inquiry will coincide in its
intent and presuppositions with that model of all moral criticisms, the
_Republic_ of Plato.  What are the possibilities for life of this
aesthetic interest or love of art?  How is it liable to abuse or
excess?  What is its bearing on other interests, and how far does it
tend to make life gracious and happy, without destroying its balance or
compromising its truth?  These are the questions on which I hope that I
may be able to throw some light by calling attention to the following
characteristics possessed by the aesthetic interest: _self-sufficiency,
pervasiveness, vicariousness, stimulation of action, fixation of
ideas,_ and _liberality_.[9]



It has long been pointed out that the aesthetic interest, unlike the
bodily appetites, is _self-sufficient_, in that it is capable of being
evenly sustained.  It depends on no antecedent craving, and has no
definite periodic limit of satiety.  It engages the capacities that
are, on the whole, the most docile and the least liable to progressive
fatigue, while through its own internal variety it is guarded against
monotony.  Consequently the aesthetic interest is peculiarly capable of
being continued and developed through a lifetime, providing a constant
and increasing source of satisfaction.

Furthermore, the aesthetic interest is resourceful, easily supplying
itself with the objects which it uses.  It follows that it contributes
to independence, being like the "speculative activity" of
Aristotle,[10] in giving the individual a means of happiness in himself
without the aid of his fellows or the favor of fortune.  Since the
aesthetic interest is in these ways self-sufficient, its continuous
return of good being guaranteed, it is one of the safest of investments.

But every special interest is a source of danger in direct proportion
to its isolation.  Its very self-sufficiency may serve to promote a
narrow concentration, a blindness to ulterior interests {193} and wider
possibilities.  This undue dwelling on the given material of life may,
as we have seen in an earlier chapter, attach to any interest; but the
aesthetic interest is peculiarly liable to it.  This is due to the fact
that, in so far as an object appeals to the aesthetic interest, it
tends not to develop, but to retain some fixed aspect in which the
apprehension of it is agreeable.  The various practical interests
ramify indefinitely through the dynamic relations of objects, and
through the handling of objects common to a variety of interests.  Once
engaged in what is called "active life" one tends to be drawn into the
main current of enterprise and made aware of the larger issues.  And
the theoretical interest also tends to lead beyond itself; for it
prompts the mind to examine the whole nature of objects, and to explore
their context without limit in the hope of completer truth.  But the
aesthetic interest readily acquires equilibrium, and feels no
inducement to leave off an activity which, though its limits may be
narrow, is free and continuous within them.  Plato accused art of being
essentially imitative, and so of confirming the vulgar respect for the
surface aspect of things.[11]  It is truer, I think, to say that the
aesthetic interest is quiescent, tending to perpetuate experience in
any form that is found pleasant, and without respect either to
practical exigencies or to the order of truth.  {194} Hence this
interest on account of its very self-sufficiency offers a passive
resistance to the formal principles of moral organization--to prudence,
purpose, justice, and good-will.


The aesthetic interest is the good genius of the powers of
apprehension, making them fruitful in their own kind.  Now the powers
of apprehension are engaged during all the waking hours, and if they
can be taught to mediate a good of their own, that good will _pervade_
the whole of life.  It is through the cultivation of the aesthetic
interest that there is most hope of redeeming the waste places, of
giving to intervals and accidental juxtapositions some graciousness and
profit.  With all the world to see and contemplate, and with the eye
and mind wherewith to contemplate them, there is a limitless abundance
of good things always and everywhere available.  Let me quote Arthur
Benson's account of this discovery:

The world was full of surprises; trees drooped their leaves over
screening walls, houses had backs as well as fronts; music was heard
from shuttered windows, lights burned in upper rooms.  There were a
thousand pretty secrets in the ways of people to each other.  Then,
too, there were ideas, as thick as sparrows in an ivied wall.  One had
but to clap one's hands and cry out, and there was a fluttering {195}
of innumerable wings; life was as full of bubbles, forming, rising into
amber foam, as a glass of sparkling wine.[12]

To this delight which the casual environment affords a sensitive
observer, art may add through a decorous furnishing of city and house.
Or the instruments of other interests may be made to give pleasure of
themselves, so that there may be no long periods of deferred reward.
Thus to the hire of manual labor may be added the immediate
compensation which comes from a love of the tools, or from the
satisfaction taken in the aspect of work done; to physical exercise may
be added the love of nature, to scholarship the love of scientific
form, and to social intercourse the love of personal beauty or of
conversation.  In these ways, and in countless ways beside, the
aesthetic interest may multiply the richness of life.

Society is, on the whole, protected against the danger of overemphasis
on the aesthetic interest, through the habitual subordination of it in
public opinion to standards of efficiency.  Men commonly believe, and
are justified in so believing, that a life delivered wholly to the
aesthetic interest is frivolous; amusing itself with "bubbles" and
"amber foam," while supported by a community in whose graver and more
urgent concerns it takes no part.  Probably no one has {196} done more
than Pater to persuade men of the present generation that it is worth
while to "catch at any exquisite passion, . . . or any stirring of the
senses"; and yet he is not a prophet in our day.  Is it possibly
because in that same famous conclusion to the _Renaissance_ he said,
"Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end," [13]
and thus exposed himself to misunderstanding, if not to refutation, at
the hands of any one of average moral enlightenment?  The moral lesson
is one that none have escaped, and that only a few are permitted to
forget.  This lesson has taught with unvarying reiteration that acts
are to be judged by their consequences; that all purposes are
constructive, and so far as wise fitted into the building of
civilization; that experience itself, in Pater's sense, is possible
only as a fruit of experience.  A life in which the aesthetic interest
unduly dominates, in which action is transmuted into pulses of
sensation, and the means of efficiency into the ends of contemplation,
is an idle life, protected from the consequences of its own impotency
only by the constructive labor of others.  He who from prolonged gazing
at the spoon forgets to carry it to his mouth, must die of hunger and
cease from gazing altogether, or be fed by his friends.  The
instruments of achievement may be adorned, and made delightful in the
using, but they must not {197} on that account be mistaken for the
achievement; leisure may be made a worthy pastime through the
cultivation of the sensibilities, but it must not be substituted for
vocation, or allowed to infect a serious purpose with decay.


It has always been recognized that there is a peculiar massiveness or
depth in aesthetic satisfaction, as though it somehow carried with it
the satisfaction of all interests.  And this is not due merely to the
fact that other interests tend to fall away or remit their claims; it
is due besides to the fact that other interests may in a sense actually
be fulfilled in the aesthetic interest.  In other words, this interest
serves a vicarious function, transmuting other interests into its own
form, and then affording them a fulfilment which they are incapable of
attaining when exercised in their own right.

This occurs when other interests, such as love or personal ambition,
are imagined or represented, and thus made objects of agreeable
apprehension.  There is in this a compensation for failure, without
which life would be stripped of one of its main barriers against
despair.  Those whom circumstance has provided no opportunity for the
fulfilment of interests so ingenerate as maternal love or heroic
action, may, in a way, make themselves whole {198} through the
contemplation of these things; for the contemplation of them engages
the same instincts, arouses the same emotions, but without requiring
the existence of their objects.  The prolongation of arduous and
uncertain effort is compensated through the imaginative anticipation of
success, or through the apprehension of some symbol of perfect
fruition.  It is through this happy illumination of struggle with a
vision of fulfilment, that mankind is reconciled to such tasks as
civilization and spiritual wholeness; tasks in which great efforts
produce small results, and of which the end is not seen.

Now it remains true, of course, that such vicarious fulfilment is not
real fulfilment; and to suppose it to be, is one of the most serious
errors for which the aesthetic interest is responsible.  The man who,
with clenched hands and quickened pulse, is watching some image of
himself as it triumphs over obstacles and arrives at the summit of his
ambition, may and doubtless does _feel_ like Alexander, but he
nevertheless has not conquered the world; and if he thinks he has, he
will probably never conquer any of it.  It must be remembered that the
vicarious aesthetic fulfilment of interests is the easiest fulfilment
of them; and that it may, therefore, become a form of self-indulgence
and a source of false complacency.  A sanguine imagination is one of
the {199} chief causes of worldly failure; an exaggerated interest in
representations of virtue is a common cause of irresponsibility and of
hypocrisy.  William James, in a passage that is frequently quoted,
calls attention also to the danger of acquiring a chronic emotionality.

The weeping of a Russian lady over the fictitious personages in the
play, while her coachman is freezing to death on his seat outside, is
the sort of thing that everywhere happens on a less glaring scale.
Even the habit of excessive indulgence in music, for those who are
neither performers themselves nor musically gifted enough to take it in
a purely intellectual way, has probably a relaxing effect upon the
character.  One becomes filled with emotions which habitually pass
without prompting to any deed, and so the inertly sentimental condition
is kept up.  The remedy would be, never to suffer one's self to have an
emotion at a concert, without expressing it afterwards in _some_ active
way.  Let the expression be the least thing in the world--speaking
genially to one's aunt, or giving up one's seat in a horse-car, if
nothing more heroic offers--but let it not fail to take place.[14]

But not only is it possible through the exaggeration of the aesthetic
interest to substitute apparent achievement for real achievement; it is
possible to extract solace from the contemplation of failure itself.
Is there any one who has not met the man who is actually made buoyant
by his consistent misfortune?  For it is flattering that an evil fate
should single one out from the crowd for conspicuous attention, that
all the {200} tragedy of existence should centre upon one's devoted
head.  And a certain interest attaches even to unredeemed misery and
abject futility on their own account, if only they can be viewed from
the right angle, and with a cultivated sense for such things.  Now thus
to poetize the tragedy of one's own life is fatuous; it is like
enjoying one's dizziness on the brink of a precipice, or the pangs of
sickness without seeking a remedy.  But to poetize the tragedy of
others, to fiddle while Rome is burning, is brutal.  Nevertheless,
though it is not commonly possible to do things on Nero's scale,
precisely the same attitude is the commonest thing in the world, and is
fostered by the whole aesthetic bias of the race.  The meanness of
savage life, the squalid poverty of the slums, suffice in their
picturesqueness to make a holiday for those who are more occupied with
images than with deeds.  And there is actually a philosophy of life in
which all things are held to be good because they afford a tragic,
sublime, and, therefore, pleasing spectacle.  This is the very extreme
of moral infidelity, the abandonment of the will to make good for the
insidious and relaxing interest in making things seem good as they are.



That a beautiful object commonly _stimulates_ a motor response is
beyond question.  Even when it does not appeal to any definite emotion
it is _generally_ stimulating, through its affording to the natural
powers at some point an unusual harmony with their environment.  And
when there is a definite emotional appeal, there is a tendency to act.
For, as we have seen, originally the fundamental emotions were all
co-ordinated reactions to the environment, enlisting the whole organism
to cope with some practical emergency.  That the emotions should become
_mere_ emotions is due to the modification of instinct by habit.
Whatever, then, arouses the emotions does in some degree stir to
action.  So that one of the most important moral uses of art is its
alliance with other interests in order to intensify their appeal, in
order to make them more instantly moving.  Art is a means of enlivening
dormant impulses; as music is a means of rekindling the love of country
or the love of God, so that men may be brought to take up arms with
enthusiasm or endure reverses without complaint.

But this motor excitement which art stimulates may be morally
indeterminate; that is, it may be capable of being discharged in any
way that accident or bias may select.  In other words, {202} art may
communicate power without controlling its use, thus merely increasing
the disorder and instability of life.  Or it may serve to exaggerate
the appeal of the present interest, until it becomes ungovernable and
obscures ulterior interests.  This tendency to promote dissoluteness is
the most serious charge which Plato brings against the arts.  After
referring to the unseemly hilarity to which men are incited by the
comic stage, he adds:

And the same may be said of lust and anger and all the other
affections, of desire and pain and pleasure which are held to be
inseparable from every action--in all of them poetry feeds and waters
the passions instead of drying them up; she lets them rule instead of
ruling them as they ought to be ruled, with a view to the happiness and
virtue of mankind.[15]

In an earlier passage Plato discusses types of music in relation to
action, the Lydian which is sorrowful, and the Ionian which is
indolent; showing that selection must be made if men are not to be at
the mercy of random influences.  It is not necessary, as Plato would
have it, to banish Lydian and Ionian harmonies from society; but within
one's personal economy, within the republic of one's own soul, one must
prefer with Plato those stirrings of the emotions which support and
re-enforce one's moral purpose:

Of the harmonies I know nothing, but I want to have one warlike, which
will sound the word or note {203} which a brave man utters in the hour
of danger and stem resolve, or when his cause is failing, and he is
going to wounds or death or is overtaken by some other evil, and at
every such crisis meets fortune with calmness and endurance; and
another to be used by him in times of peace and freedom of action, when
there is no pressure of necessity, and he is seeking to persuade God by
prayer, or man by instruction and advice. . . .  These two harmonies I
ask you to leave: the strain of necessity and the strain of freedom,
the strain of the unfortunate and the strain of the fortunate, the
strain of courage and the strain of temperance; these, I say, leave.[16]


Where art is not employed directly to incite action, it may still be
indirectly conducive to action through _fixing_ ideas and inclining the
sentiments towards them.  This is probably its most important moral
function.  The ideas which are of the greatest significance for conduct
are ideas which receive no adequate embodiment in the objects of
nature.  Every broad purpose and developed ideal requires the exercise
of the constructive imagination.  But the immediate images of the
imagination are fluctuating and transient, and need to be supported
through being embodied in some enduring medium.  Thus monuments serve
as emblems of nationality; or, as in the thirteenth century, all the
arts may unite to represent and suggest the objects of religious {204}
faith.  Poetry and song have always served as means of incarnating the
more delicate shadings of a racial ideal; and every man would be a poet
if he could, and trace the outline of that hope which stirs him and
which is not the hope of any other man.

But it must be made clear that art does more than make ideas definite
and permanent.  It inclines the sentiments towards them.  The great
power of art lies in its function of making ideas alluring.  Now
whatever is loved or admired is, in the long run, sought out, imitated,
and served.  Understanding this, the ancient Athenians sought to
educate the passions, and employed music to that end.  This is
Aristotle's justification of such a course:

Since then music is a pleasure, and virtue consists in rejoicing and
loving and hating aright, there is clearly nothing which we are so much
concerned to acquire and to cultivate as the power of forming right
judgments, and of taking delight in good dispositions and noble
actions.  Rhythm and melody supply imitations of anger and gentleness,
and also of courage and temperance and of virtues and vices in general,
which hardly fall short of the actual affections, as we know from our
own experience, for in listening to such strains our souls undergo a
change.  The habit of feeling pleasure or pain at mere representations
is not far removed from the same feeling about realities.[17]

The simple and incontestable truth of these statements is a standing
condemnation of the {205} usual environment of youth.  Virtue consists,
as much as it ever did, "in rejoicing and loving and hating aright";
but the guidance of these sentiments to their proper objects is left
almost wholly to chance.  It is by making the good also beautiful, by
illuminating the modes of virtue with jewels, and endearing them to the
imagination, that the moral reason may be re-enforced from early days
by high spirits.  It should be a task of education, using this means
either in the home or the school or the city at large, to inculcate a
right habit of admiration.

If art is to serve a moral end in fixing and embellishing ideas, it
must be _true_.  What I mean by this most important qualification I
must now endeavor to make plain.  Art, in so far as it is a means of
representation, deals either with physical nature, as in landscape and
figure painting, or with types and incidents of human life, as in
dramatic painting and in the greater part of poetry.  In either case it
may, like thought, either reflect or distort the structure of reality.
Now the real structure of human life is moral; consisting only in a
variety of instances of the one law that _the wages of sin is death_.
To represent life otherwise is to falsify it, precisely as to represent
bodies without solidity and gravity is to falsify physical nature.  But
in representing physical nature art does not, as science does, {206}
formulate merely its geometrical or dynamical skeleton; to do so would
be contrary to the intent of art to represent things in their
perceptual concreteness.  Similarly art does not represent abstract
virtues.  Nevertheless, if it is not to depart from the truth art must,
at the same time that it conveys the color and vividness of life, also
conform to its proper laws, and demonstrate the consequences of action
as they are.  And the same standard of clearness and fidelity, which
requires that great art shall reveal nature as it is, not to the
superficial or imitative observer but to the thoughtful and penetrating
mind, requires also that it shall throw into relief the profounder and
more universal forces of life.

Great art, therefore, is of necessity enlightening.  But it is possible
that untruth should parade in the dress and under the auspices of art,
and so work to the confusion of the moral consciousness.  If art were
only realistic in the full sense, an unequivocal representation of the
laws of life, it would invariably justify and support the moral will;
it would be idealistic.  It is the art of desultory and irresponsible
fancy that is a source of danger.  There is a species of romantic art
that is guarded by its very excess of fantasy; it being impossible to
mistake it for a representation of life.  But where romantic art is not
thus clear in its motive, it becomes what is called "sensational" {207}
art, in which the wages of sin are not paid; in which imprudence,
infidelity, and a mean ambition are made to yield success, freedom, and
glorious achievement.  The realities are violated, with the consequence
that resolve is weakened and the intelligence bewildered.

Since art may be true or untrue, it may also be universal or
particular, profound or superficial, in its apprehension of reality.
This difference has operated to define a scale of importance in art, so
far as the interest of society is concerned.  There is at least a
measure of truth in Taine's graduated scale by which he estimates the
greatness of art according as it represents the fashion of the day, the
type of the generation, the type of the age, the type of the race, or
man himself in his immutable nature.[18]  That art will be the most
effective instrument of moral enlightenment which reflects the
experience of mankind in the basal and constant virtues, giving quality
and distinction to truths which might otherwise suffer from their very
homeliness and familiarity.

There is a kindred consideration to which Tolstóy, undiscerning as he
is in most of his criticism of art, has very justly called attention.
In the broad sense, art is liable to untruth from reflecting
exclusively the bias of a certain temperament.  The following
description {208} of a class of contemporary dramas is not wholly inapt:

They either represent an architect, who for some reason has not
fulfilled his former high resolves and in consequence of this climbs on
the roof of a house built by him and from there flies down headlong; or
some incomprehensible old woman, who raises rats and for some unknown
reason takes a poetic child to the sea and there drowns it; or some
blind people, who, sitting at the sea-shore, for some reason all the
time repeat one and the same thing; or a bell which flies into a lake
and there keeps ringing.[19]

That a tendency to cultivate acquaintance with the curious and rare,
and communicate it to a narrow group of initiated persons, is
characteristic of modern times, and that on the whole it is a symptom
of decadence, Tolstóy has, I believe, proved.  At any rate, the effect
of such a tendency in art can not fail to be morally injurious, since
life is not represented proportionately.  Art has much to do with the
vogue and prestige of ideas.  Thus, for example, though the
problem-play may be faithful to life where it deals with life, if the
stage be given over wholly to this form of drama, there will almost
inevitably result a false conception of the degree to which the
incidents selected are representative of social conditions on the whole.

There is one further source of moral error in connection with this
function of art.  Because art can not only fix ideas but also make them
{209} alluring, it may invest them with a fictitious value.  I refer to
what is only a different aspect of that sentimentalism or chronic
emotionalism to which I have already called attention.  Not only is it
possible that men should be brought through the aesthetic interest to
replace action with emotion; they may also persuade themselves that the
higher principles of life owe their validity to some quality that is
discerned immediately in the apprehension of them.  But purpose,
justice, and good-will are essentially principles of organization;
their virtue is their provident working.  To regard them only as images
with a value inhering in their bare essence, is to forfeit their
benefits.  Verbalism, formalism, mysticism, are given a certain false
charm and semblance of self-sufficiency by the cultivation and exercise
of the aesthetic interest.  Hence morality and religion must here
resist its enticements, and never cease to remind themselves that
theirs is the task of acknowledging all interests according to their
real inwardness, and of banishing cruelty and blindness in their behalf.


Finally, art serves to _liberalize_ life, to make it expansive and
generous in spirit.  This is possible because, in the first place, art
is unworldly.  I mean simply that the enjoyment of beauty is not {210}
a part of ambition; that it does not call into play those habits of
calculation and forms of skill that conduce to success in livelihood or
the gaining of any of the proximate ends of organized social life.  It
frees the mind from its harness and turns it out to pasture.  I suppose
that every one has had that experience of spiritual refreshment which
occasionally comes when one has gone body and soul _out of doors_, or
when one is delivered over to the enchantment of sober and elevating
music, and suddenly made aware of the better things that have been long
forgotten.  Such experiences are a moral inspiration.  It is as though,
the clamor of the world being for the moment shut out, one hears at
last the voices that speak with authority.  For an instant the broad
sweep of truth flashes upon eyes that have been too intently watchful
of affairs near at hand.  The good-will can be sustained only by a mind
that now and then withdraws itself from its engagements, and expands
its view to the full measure of life.  For the momentary inhibiting of
the narrower practical impulses, and the evoking of this quiet and
contemplative mood, the love of nature and the love of art are the most
reliable means.

But art promotes liberality of spirit in an even more definitely moral
sense.  For art, like all forms of culture, and like the service of
humanity, {211} provides for the highest type of social intercourse.
The aesthetic interest is one of those rare interests which are common
to all men without being competitive.  All men require bread, but since
this interest requires exclusive possession of its objects, its very
commonness is a source of suspicion and enmity.  Similarly all men
require truth and beauty and civilization, but these objects are
enhanced by the fact that all may rejoice in them without their being
divided or becoming the property of any man.  They bring men together
without rivalry and intrigue, in a spirit of good-fellowship.
"Culture," says Matthew Arnold, "is not satisfied till we _all_ come to
a perfect man; it knows that the sweetness and light of the few must be
imperfect until the raw and unkindled masses of humanity are touched
with sweetness and light."

'This,' he continues, 'is the _social idea_; and the men of culture are
the true apostles of equality.  The great men of culture are those who
have had a passion for diffusing, for making prevail, for carrying from
one end of society to the other, the best knowledge, the best ideas of
their time; who have labored to divest knowledge of all that was harsh,
uncouth, difficult, abstract, professional, exclusive; to humanize it,
to make it efficient outside the clique of the cultivated and learned,
yet still remaining the _best_ knowledge and thought of the time, and a
true source, therefore, of sweetness and light.'[20]


Art, both in the creation and in the enjoyment of it, is thus true to
the deepest motive of morality.  It is a remoulding of nature to the
end that all may live, and that they may live abundantly.


I have sought to place before you what art may contribute to life.  It
will have become plain that while art is the natural and powerful ally
of morality, it does not itself provide any guarantee of proper
control; in the interests of goodness, on the whole, no man can
surrender himself to it utterly.  The good-will is not proved until, as
Plato said, it is _tried with enchantments_, and found to be strong and
true.  Goodness can not be cast upon a man like a spell; it is a work
of rational organization, and can not be had without discipline,
efficiency, and service.  But it is for art to surround life with fit
auspices; to create an environment that reflects and forecasts its best
achievements, thus both making a home for it and confirming its

Having modelled this moral criticism of art upon the method of Plato, I
shall conclude with his familiar summary of all the wisdom and
eloquence that there is in the matter:

Let our artists rather be those who are gifted to discern the true
nature of beauty and grace; then will our youth dwell in the land of
health, amid fair sights {213} and sounds; and beauty, the effluence of
fair works, will visit the eye and ear, like a healthful breeze from a
purer region, and insensibly draw the soul even in childhood into
harmony with the beauty of reason.[21]




It is generally agreed that religion is either the paramount issue or the
most serious obstacle to progress.  To its devotees religion is of
overwhelming importance; to unbelievers it is, in the phrasing of Burke,
"superstitious folly, enthusiastical nonsense, and holy tyranny."  The
difference between the friends and the enemies of religion may, I think,
be resolved as follows:

Religion recognizes some final arbitration of human destiny; it is a
lively awareness of the fact that, while man proposes, it is only within
certain narrow limits that he can dispose his own plans.  His nicest
adjustments and most ardent longings are overruled; he knows that until
he can discount or conciliate that which commands his fortunes his
condition is precarious and miserable.  And through his eagerness to save
himself he leaps to conclusions that are uncritical and premature.
Irreligion, on the other hand, flourishes among those who are more snugly
intrenched {215} within the cities of man.  It is a product of
civilization.  Comfortably housed as he is, and enjoying an artificial
illumination behind drawn blinds, the irreligious man has the heart to
criticise the hasty speculations and abject fear of those who stand
without in the presence of the surrounding darkness.  In other words,
religion is perpetually on the exposed side of civilization, sensitive to
the blasts that blow from the surrounding universe; while irreligion is
in the lee of civilization, with enough remove from danger to foster a
refined concern for logic and personal liberty.  There is a sense, then,
in which both religion and irreligion are to be justified.  If religion
is guilty of unreason, irreligion is guilty of apathy.  For without doubt
the situation of the individual man is broadly such as religion conceives
it to be.  There is nothing that he can build, nor any precaution that he
can take, that weighs appreciably in the balance against the powers which
decree good and ill fortune, catastrophe and triumph, life and death.
Hence to be without fear is the part of folly.  Behold, the fear of the
Lord, that is wisdom.

Religion is man's recognition of the overruling control of his fortunes.
It is neither metaphysical nor mythical, but urgently practical.
Primeval chaos, Chronos, the father of Zeus, and the long line of
speculative Absolutes have no {216} worshippers because they take no hand
in man's affairs.  They may be neglected with impunity.  But not so the
gods who send health and sickness, fertility and death, victory and
defeat; or He who sits in judgment on the last day to determine the doom
of eternity.  Religion is the manifestation of supreme concern for life,
an alertness to the remotest threat of danger and promise of hope.  A
certain momentousness attaches to all the affairs of religion, because
everything is at stake.  Its dealings are with the last court of appeal,
in behalf of the most indispensable good.

In form, religion is a case of _belief_; that is, of settled conviction.
There is no religion until some interpretation of life, some
accommodation between man and God, has been so far accepted as to be
unhesitatingly practised.  The absurdity of doubt in matters of religion
has been pointed out in the well-known parody, "O God, if there be a God,
save my soul, if I have a soul."  The quality of religion lies not in the
entertaining of a speculative hypothesis, but in an assurance so
confident that its object is not only thought but enacted.  God is not
God until his unquestioned existence is assimilated to life.  Indeed, it
is conceivable that an object thus made the basis of action should still
remain theoretically doubtful.  To Fontenelle is attributed the remark
that he "did not believe in ghosts, but was afraid of {217} them."  This
is a paradox until we distinguish theoretical and practical conviction;
then it becomes not only credible but commonplace.  If one prays to God,
it is not necessary for the purposes of religion that one should, in
Fontenelle's sense, believe in him.  But I prefer to use the term
"belief" more strictly, to connote such assent as expresses itself, not
in a deliberate judgment made conformable to one's intellectual
conscience, but in fear, love, and purpose, in habitual imagery, in any
attitude or activity that spontaneously and freely presupposes the object
with which it deals.

By conceiving religion as belief we may understand not only its air of
certainty, but also the variety of its forms and agencies.  Belief sits
at the centre of life and qualifies all its manifestations.  Hence the
futility of attempting to associate religion exclusively with any single
function of man.  The guises in which religious belief may appear are as
multiform as human nature, and will vary with every shading of mood and
temperament.  Its central objects may be thought, imagined, or dealt
with--in short, responded to in all the divers ways, internal and overt,
that the powers and occasions of life define.

This will suffice, I trust, to lay the general topic of religion before
us.  I shall employ the terms and phrases which I have formulated as a
{218} working definition: _Religion is belief on the part of individuals
or communities concerning the final or overruling control of their
interests_.[2]  I propose from this point to keep in the forefront of the
discussion the standards whereby religion is to be estimated, and
approved or condemned.  On what grounds may a religion be criticised?
What would constitute the proof of an absolute religion?  History is
strewn with discredited religions; men began to quarrel over religion so
soon as they had any; and it is customary for every religious devotee to
believe jealously and exclusively.  There can be no doubt, then, that
religion is subject to justification; it remains to distinguish the tests
which may with propriety be applied, and in particular to isolate and
emphasize the moral test.


In the first place, let me mention briefly a test which it is customary
to apply, but which is not so much an estimate as it is a measure.  I
refer to the various respects in which an individual or community may be
said to be _more_ or _less_ religious.  Thus, for example, certain
religious phenomena surpass others in acuteness or intensity.  This is
peculiarly true of the phenomena manifested in conversion and in
revivals.  In this respect the mysteries of the ancients exceeded {219}
their regular public worship.  Individuals and communities vary in the
degree to which they are capable of enthusiasm, excitement, or ecstasy.

Or a religion may be measured extensively.  He whose religion is constant
and uniform is more religious than he whose observance is confined to the
Sabbath day, or he whose concern in the matter appears only in time of
trouble or at the approach of death.  This test may best be summed up in
terms of consistency.  Religion may vary in the degree to which it
pervades the various activities of life.  That religion is confined and
small which manifests itself only in words or public deeds or emotions
exclusively.  If it is to be effective it must be systematic, so
thoroughly adopted as to be cumulative and progressive.  It must engage
every activity, qualify all thought and imagination, in short, infuse the
whole of life with its saving grace.

It is clear, however, that a measure of religion does not constitute
either proof or disproof.  If a religion be good or true, or on like
grounds accredited, then the more of it the better.  But differences of
degree appear in all religions.  Indeed, the quantitative test has been
most adequately met by forms of religion the warrant of which is
generally held to be highly questionable.  We may, therefore, dismiss
this test without further consideration.  The application of it must be
{220} based upon a prior and more fundamental justification.

There is one test of religion which has been universally applied by
believers and critics alike, a test which, I think, will shortly appear
to deserve precedence over all others.  I refer to the test of truth.
Every religion has been justified to its believers and recommended to
unbelievers on grounds of evidence.  It has been verified in its working,
or attested by either observation, reflection, revelation, or authority.

In spite of the general assent which this proposition will doubtless
command, it is deserving of special emphasis at the present time.
Students of religion have latterly shifted attention from its claims to
truth to its utility and subjective form.  This pragmatic and
psychological study of religion has created no little confusion of mind
concerning its real meaning, and obscured that which is after all its
essential claim--the claim, namely, to offer an illumination of life.
Religious belief, like all belief, is reducible to judgments.  These
judgments are not, it is true, explicit and theoretically formulated; but
they are none the less answerable to evidence from that context of
experience to which they refer.  It is true that the believer's assurance
is not consciously rational, but it is none the less liable before the
court of reason.  Cardinal Newman {221} fairly expressed the difference
between the method of religion and the method of science when he said
that "ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt," that "difficulty
and doubt are incommensurate." [3]  Nevertheless, the difficulties are in
each case germane; and the fact that every article of faith has its
besetting doubt is proof that the thorough justification of faith
requires the settlement of theoretical difficulties.

No religion can survive the demonstration of its untruth; for salvation,
whether present or eternal, depends on processes actually operative in
the environment.  Religion must reveal the undeniable situation and
prepare man for it.  It must charge the unbeliever with being guilty of
folly, with deceiving himself through failing to see and take heed.
Every religious propaganda is a cry of warning, putting men on their
guard against invisible dangers; or a promise of succor, bringing glad
tidings of great joy.  And its prophecy is empty and trivial if the
danger or the succor can be shown to be unreal.  The one unfailing bias
in life is the bias for disillusionment, springing from the organic
instinct for that real environment to which, whether friendly or hostile,
it must adapt itself.  Every man knows in his heart that he can not be
saved through being deceived.  Illusions can not endure, and those who
lightly perpetrate them are fortunate {222} if they escape the resentment
and swift vengeance which overtook the prophets of Baal.

The grounds of religious truth will require prolonged consideration; but
before discussing them further let me first mention a test of religion
which belongs to the class of psychological and pragmatic tests to which
I have just alluded, but which has latterly assumed special prominence.
Though realizing that I use a somewhat disparaging term, I suggest that
we call this the "therapeutic test."  It has been proved that the state
of piety possesses a direct curative value through its capacity to
exhilarate or pacify, according to the needs of a disordered mind.  As a
potent form of suggestion, it lends itself to the uses of psychiatry; it
may be medicinally employed as a tonic, stimulant, or sedative.

Now we can afford to remind ourselves that, at least from the point of
view of the patient, this use of religion bears a striking resemblance to
certain primitive practices in which God was conceived as a glorified
medicine-man, and the healing of the body strangely confused with
spiritual regeneration.  Bishop Gregory of Tours once addressed the
following apostrophe to the worshipful St. Martin: "O unspeakable
theriac! ineffable pigment! admirable antidote! celestial purgative!
superior to all the skill of physicians, more fragrant than aromatic
drugs, stronger than {223} all ointments combined! thou cleanest the
bowels as well as scammony, and the lungs as well as hyssop; thou
cleanest the head as well as camomile!" [4]

It is true that religion is in these days recommended for more subtle
disorders; but even religious ecstasy may be virtually equivalent to a
mere state of emotional exhilaration, or piety to a condition of mental
and moral stupor.  What does it profit a man to be content with his lot,
or to experience the rapture of the saints, if he has lost his soul?  The
saving of a soul is a much more serious matter than the cessation of
worry or the curing of insomnia, or even than the acquiring of a habit of
delirious joy.  Tranquillity and happiness are, it is true, the
legitimate fruits of religion, but only provided they be infused with
goodness and truth.  If religion is to be a spiritual tonic, and not
merely a physical tonic, it must be based on moral organization and
intellectual enlightenment.  I do not doubt that religion has in all
times recommended itself to men mainly through its contributing to their
lives a certain peculiar buoyancy and peace.  There is such a generic
value in religion, which can not be attributed wholly to any of its
component parts.  But, like the intensity or extent of religion, this may
manifest itself upon all levels of development.  _Sound_ piety, a
tranquillity and happiness {224} which mark the soul's real salvation,
must be founded on truth, on an interpretation of life which expresses
the fullest light.  Again, then, we are referred to the test of truth for
the fundamental justification of religion.  There is a generic value
which is deserving of the last word, but that word can be said only after
a rigorous examination of the more fundamental values from which it is

Religious truth is divisible into two judgments, involved in every
religious belief, and answerable respectively to _ethical_ and
_cosmological_ evidence.  Since religion is a belief concerning the
overruling control of human interests, it involves on the one hand a
summing up of these interests, a conception of what the believer has at
stake, in short, an ethical judgment; and on the other hand, an
interpretation of the environment at large, in other words, a
cosmological judgment.  Religion construes the practical situation in its
totality; which means that it generalizes concerning the content of
fortune, or the good, and the sources of fortune, or nature.  Both
factors are invariably present, and no religion can escape criticism on
this twofold ground.

The ethical implications of religion are peculiarly far-reaching, since
they determine not only its conception of man, but also, in part, its
conception of God.  This is due to the fact that {225} the term "God"
signifies not the environment in its inherent nature, but the environment
in its bearing on the worshipper's interests.  It follows that whether
God be construed as favorable or hostile will depend upon the
worshipper's conception of these interests.  Thus, for example, if
worldly success or long life be regarded as the values most eagerly to be
conserved, God must be feared as cruel or capricious; whereas, if the
lesson of discipline and humility be conceived as the highest good, it
may be reasonable to trust the providence of God without any change in
its manifestation.

Furthermore, as we shall shortly have occasion to remark, it is
characteristic of religion to insist, so far as possible, upon the
favorableness of the environment.  But this favorableness must be
construed in terms of what are held to be man's highest interests.
Consequently, the disposition and motive of God always reflect human
purposes.  This is the main source of the inevitable anthropomorphism of

Conceptions of nature, on the other hand, define the degree to which the
environment is morally determined, and the unity or plurality of its
causes.  Animism, for example, reflects the general opinion that the
causes of natural events are wilful rather than mechanical.  Such an
opinion obtained at the time when no sharp {226} distinction was made
between inorganic and organic phenomena, the action of the environment
being conceived as a play of impulses.

Religion is corrected, then, by light obtained from these sources: man's
knowledge of his highest interests, and his knowledge of nature.  As a
rule, one or the other of these two methods of criticism tends to
predominate, in accordance with the genius of the race or period.  Thus,
the evolution of Greek religion is determined mainly by the development
of science.  Xenophanes attacks the religion of his times on the ground
of its crude anthropomorphism.  "Mortals," he says, "think that the gods
are born as they are, and have perception like theirs, and voice and
form."  But this naïve opinion Xenophanes corrects because it is not
consistent with the new enlightenment concerning the _archê_, or first
principle of nature.  "And he [God] abideth ever in the same place,
moving not at all; nor doth it befit him to go about, now hither, now
thither." [5]

In a later age Lucretius criticised the whole system of Greek religion in
terms of the atomistic and mechanical cosmology of Epicurus:

For verily not by design did the first-beginnings of things station
themselves each in its right place guided by keen intelligence, nor did
they bargain sooth to say what motions each should assume; but because
many in number and shifting about in many ways throughout the universe
they are driven and {227} tormented by blows during infinite time past,
after trying motions and unions of every kind at length they fall into
arrangements such as those out of which this our sum of things has been

In the light of such principles Lucretius demonstrates the absurdity of
hoping or fearing anything from a world beyond or a life to come.  In
this case, as in the case above, the religion of enlightenment does not
differ essentially from the religion of the average man in its conception
of the interests at stake, but only in its conception of the methods of
worship or forms of imagery which it is reasonable to employ in view of
the actual nature of the environment.

If, on the other hand, we turn to the early development of the Hebrew
religion, we find that it is corrected to meet the demands not of
cosmological but of ethical enlightenment.  No question arises as to the
existence or power of God, but only as to what he requires of those who
serve him.  The prophets represent the moral genius of the race, its
acute discernment of the causes of social integrity or decay.  "And when
ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye
make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.  Wash
you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine
eyes; cease to do evil: learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve {228}
the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." [7]

But whichever of these two methods of criticism predominates, it is clear
that they both draw upon bodies of truth which grow independently of
religion.  The history of Christianity affords a most remarkable record
of the continual adjustment of religious belief to secular rationality.
The offices of religion have availed no more to justify cruelty,
intolerance, and bigotry than to establish the Ptolemaic astronomy or the
Scriptural account of creation.  This is more readily admitted in the
case of natural science than in the case of ethics, but only because
teachers of religion have commonly had a more expert acquaintance with
moral matters than with the orbits of the planets or the natural history
of the earth.

For the principles of conduct, like the principles of nature, must be
derived from a study of the field to which they are applied.  They
require nothing more for their establishment than the analysis and
generalization of the moral situation.  If two or more persons conduct
themselves with reference to one another and to an external object, their
action either possesses or lacks, in some degree, that specific value
which we call moral goodness.  And by the principles of ethics we mean
the principles which truly define and explicate this value.  Now neither
the truth nor {229} the falsity of any religion affects these fundamental
and essential conditions.  If the teachings of religion be accepted as
true, then certain factors may be added to the concrete practical
situation; but if so, these fall within the field of morality and must be
submitted to ethical principles.  Thus, if there be a God whose
personality permits of reciprocal social relations with man, then man
ought, in the moral sense, to be prudent with reference to him, and may
reasonably demand justice or good-will at his hands.

But the mere existence of a God, whatever be his nature, can neither
invalidate nor establish the ethical principles of prudence, justice, and
good-will.  Were a God whose existence is proved, to recommend injustice,
this would not affect in the slightest degree the moral obligation to be
just.  Moral revelation stands upon precisely the same footing as
revelation in the sphere of theoretical truth: its acceptance can be
justified only through its being confirmed by experience or reason.  In
other words, it is the office of revelation to reveal truth, but not to
establish it.  In consequence of this fact it may even be necessary that
a man should redeem the truth in defiance of what he takes to be the
disposition of God.  Neither individual conscience nor the moral judgment
of mankind can be superseded or modified save through a higher insight
which these may {230} themselves be brought to confirm.  Whatever a man
may think of God, if he continues to live in the midst of his fellows, he
places himself within the jurisdiction of the laws which obtain there.
Morality is the method of reconciling and fulfilling the interests of
beings having the capacity to conduct themselves rationally, and ethics
is the formulation of the general principles which underlie this method.
The attempt to live rationally--and, humanly speaking, there is no
alternative save the total abnegation of life--brings one within the
jurisdiction of these principles, precisely as thinking brings one within
the jurisdiction of the principles of logic, or as the moving of one's
body brings one within the jurisdiction of the principles of mechanics.

Religion, then, mediates an enlightenment which it does not of itself
originate.  In religious belief the truth which is derived from a
studious observation of nature and the cumulative experience of life, is
heightened and vivified.  Like all belief religion is conservative, and
rightly so.  But in the long run, steadily and inevitably, it responds to
every forward step which man is enabled to take through the exercise of
his natural cognitive powers.  Only so does religion serve its real
purpose of benefiting life by expanding its horizon and defining its

I have hitherto left out of account a certain {231} stress or insistence
that must now be recognized as fundamental in religious development.
This I shall call _the optimistic bias_.  This bias is not accidental or
arbitrary, but significant of the fact that religion, like morality,
springs from the same motive as life itself, and makes towards the same
goal of fruition and abundance.  Life is essentially interest, and
interest is essentially positive or provident; fear is incidental to
hope, and hate to love.  Man seeks to know the worst only in order that
he may avoid or counterwork it in the furtherance of his interests.
Religion is the result of man's search for support in the last extremity.
This is true, even when men are largely preoccupied with the mere
struggle for existence.  It appears more and more plainly as life becomes
aggressive, and is engaged in the constructive enterprise of
civilization.  Religion expresses man's highest hope of attainment,
whether this be conceived as the efficacy of a fetich or the kingdom of

Such, then, are the general facts of religion, and the fundamental
critical principles which justify and define its development.  Religion
is man's belief in salvation, his confident appeal to the overruling
control of his ultimate fortunes.  The reconstruction of religious belief
is made necessary whenever it fails to express the last verified truth,
cosmological or ethical.  The {232} direction of religious development is
thus a resultant of two forces: the optimistic bias, or the saving hope
of life; and rational criticism, or the progressive revelation of the
principles which define life and its environment.

I shall proceed now to the consideration of types of religion which
illustrate this critical reconstruction.  The types which I shall select
represent certain forms of inadequacy which I think it important to
distinguish.  They are only roughly historical, as is necessarily the
case, since all religions represent different types in the various stages
of their development, and in the different interpretations which are put
on them in any given time by various classes of believers.  I shall
consider in turn, using the terms in a manner to be precisely indicated
as we proceed, _superstition, tutelary religion_, and two forms of
_philosophical religion_, the one _metaphysical idealism_, and the other
_moral idealism_.


_Superstition_ is distinguished by a lack of organization both in man and
his environment.  It is a direct cross-relationship between an elementary
interest, passion, or need, and some isolated and capricious natural
power.  The deity is externally related to the worshipper, having private
interests of his own which the worshipper respects {233} only from
motives of prudence.  Religious observance takes the form of barter or
propitiation--_do ut des, do ut abeas_.  The method of superstition is
arbitrary, furthermore, in that it is defined only by the liking or
aversion of an unprincipled agency.

Let us consider briefly the type of superstition which is associated with
the most primitive stage in the development of society.[8]  The
worshipper has neither raised nor answered the ethical question as to
what is his greatest good.  Indeed, he is much more concerned to meet the
pressing needs of life than he is to co-ordinate them or understand to
what they lead.  He can not even be said to be actuated by the principle
of rational self-interest.  Like the brute, whose lot is similar to his
own, he feels his wants severally, and is forced to meet them as they
arise or be trampled under foot in the struggle for existence.  There is
little co-ordination of his interests beyond that which is provided for
in the organic and social structure with which nature has endowed him.
Over and above the instinct of self-preservation he recognizes in custom
the principle of tribal or racial solidarity.  But this is proof, not so
much of a recognition of community of interest, as of the vagueness of
his ideas concerning the boundaries of his own self-hood.  The very fact
that his interests are scattering and loosely knit prevents him from
clearly {234} distinguishing his own.  He readily identifies himself not
only with his body, but with his clothing, his habitation, and various
trinkets which have been accidentally associated with his life.  It is
only natural that he should similarly identify himself with those other
beings like himself with whom he is connected by the bonds of blood and
of intimate contact.  Morally, then, primitive man is an indefinite and
incoherent aggregate of interests which have not yet assumed the form
even of individual and community purpose.

To turn to the second, or cosmological, component, we find that primitive
man's conception of ultimate powers is like his conception of his own
interests in being both indefinite and incoherent.  In consequence of the
daily vicissitudes of his fortune, he is well aware that he is affected
for better or for worse by agencies which fall outside the more familiar
routine operations of society and nature.  So great is the disproportion
between the calculable and the incalculable elements of his life that he
is like a man crouching in the dark, expecting a blow from any quarter.
The agencies whose working can be discounted in advance form his secular
world; but this world is narrow and meagre, and is overshadowed by a
beyond which is both mysterious and terrible.  Of the world beyond he has
no single comprehensive idea, but he acknowledges it in his {235}
expectation of the injuries and benefits which he may at any time receive
from it.  It is an abyss whose depths he has never sounded, but which he
is forced practically to recognize, since he is at the mercy of forces
which emanate from it.

The method of primitive religion is the inevitable sequel.  In behalf of
the interests which represent him man must here, as ever, make the best
terms he can with the powers which beset him.  He has no concern with
these powers except the desire to propitiate them.  He has no knowledge
of their working excepting as respects their bearing upon his interests.
Obeying a law of human nature which is as valid now as then, he seeks for
remedies whose proof is the cure which they effect.  Let the association
between a certain action on his own part and a favorable turn in the tide
of fortune once be established, and the subsequent course of events will
seem to confirm it.  Coincidences are remembered and exceptions
forgotten.  Furthermore, his belief in the effectual working of the
established plan is always justified by the difficulty of proving any
other alternative plan to be better.

But, in order to understand superstition, it is not necessary to
reconstruct the earliest period in the history of society, nor even to
study contemporary savage life, for the superstitious intelligence and
the superstitious method survive {236} in every stage of development.
They appear, for example, in mediaeval Christianity; in Clovis's appeal
to Christ on the battle-field: "Clotilda says that Thou art the Son of
the living God, and that Thou dost give victory to those who put their
trust in Thee.  I have besought my gods, but they give me no aid.  I see
well that their strength is naught.  I beseech Thee, and I will believe
in Thee, only save me from the hands of mine enemies."  The same period
is represented by the petition attributed to St. Eloi, "Give, Lord, since
we have given!  _Da, Domine, quia dedimus!_" [9]  In modern life the
motive of superstition pervades almost all worship, appearing in sundry
expectations of special favor to be gained by service or importunity.

The application of critical enlightenment to this type of religion has
already been made with general consent.  It is recognized that morally
superstition represents the merely prudential level of life.  It bespeaks
a state of panic or a narrow regard for isolated needs and desires.
Furthermore, it tends to emphasize these considerations and at the same
time degrade the object of worship through claiming the attention of God
in their behalf.  The deity is conceived, not under the form of a broad
and consecutive purpose, but under the form of a casual and desultory


But superstition has been corrected mainly by the advancement of
scientific knowledge.  Science has pronounced finally against the belief
in localized or isolated natural processes.  Whether the mechanical
theory be accepted or not, its method is beyond question, in so far as it
defines laws and brings all events and phenomena under their control.  In
the dealings of nature there can be no favoritism, no special
dispensations, no bargaining over the counter.


The correction of superstition brings us to our second type, which I have
chosen to call _tutelary religion_.  It is distinguished by the fact that
life is organized into a definite purpose, which, although still narrow
and partisan with reference to humanity at large, nevertheless embraces
and subordinates the manifold desires of a community.  The deity
represents this purpose in the cosmos at large, and rallies the forces of
nature to its support.  He is no longer capricious, but is possessed of a
character defined by systematic devotion to an end.  His ways are the
ways of effectiveness.  Furthermore, since his aims are identical with
those of his worshippers, he is now loved and served for himself.  It
follows that he will demand of his followers only conformity to those
rules which define the realization of the {238} common aim, and that
these rules will be enforced by the community as the conditions of its
secular well-being.  Ritual is no longer arbitrary, but is based on an
enlightened knowledge of ways and means.

While this type of religion is clearly present in the most primitive
tribal worship, it is best exemplified when a racial or national purpose
manifests itself aggressively and self-consciously, as in the cases of
ancient Assyria and Egypt.  Here God is identified with the kingship,
both being symbols of nationality.  Among the Assyrians the national
purpose was predominantly one of military aggrandizement.  Istar
communicates to Esar-haddon this promise of support: "Fear not, O
Esar-haddon; the breath of inspiration which speaks to thee is spoken by
me, and I conceal it not. . . .  I am the mighty mistress, Istar of
Arbela, who have put thine enemies to flight before thy feet.  Where are
the words which I speak unto thee, that thou hast not believed
them? . . .  I am Istar of Arbela; in front of thee and at thy side do I
march.  Fear not, thou art in the midst of those that can heal thee; I am
in the midst of thy host." [10]

Egyptian nationality was identified rather with the principles of
agriculture and political organization.  The deity is the fertilizing
Nile, or the judge of right conduct.  There is recorded in {239} the
_Book of the Dead_ the pleading of a soul before Osiris, in which the
commands of the god are thus identified with the conditions of national

  I have not committed fraud and evil against men.
  I have not diverted justice in the judgment hall.
  I have not known meanness.
  I have not caused a man to do more than his day's work.
  I have not caused a slave to be ill treated by his overseer.
  I have not committed murder.
  I have not spoiled the bread of offering in the temple.
  I have not added to the weight of the balance.
  I have not taken milk from the mouths of children.
  I have not turned aside the water at the time of inundation.
  I have not cut off an arm of the river in its course.[11]

Similar illustrations might be drawn from the nationalistic phase of
Hebraism.  The same principle appears in mediaeval Christianity, and is
thus embodied in the prologue of the Salic Law, "Long live the Christ,
who loves the Franks."  In more recent times one might point to the
Christianity of the Puritan revolution, not wholly misrepresented by the
maxim popularly attributed to Cromwell, "Put your trust in God and keep
your powder dry," or in Poor Richard's observation that "God helps them
that help themselves."

Such is the religion of nationalism, {240} sectarianism, of sustained but
narrow purpose.  I shall not attempt to formulate exhaustively the ideas
through which this religion has been corrected.  It is clear that its
defect lies in its partisanship.  All forms of partisanship yield slowly
but inevitably to the higher conception of social solidarity.  Such
enlightenment reflects a recognition of community of interest, and a
widening of sympathy through intercourse and acquaintance.  Tutelary
religion, in short, is corrected through the validity of the ethical
principles of justice and good-will.  The cosmological correction of this
type of religion is due to the same enlightenment that discredits
superstition, a knowledge, namely, of the systematic unity of the cosmos.
The laws of nature are as indifferent to private purposes as they are to
private desires, and whether these be personal or social in their scope.
Furthermore, the universality of God is recognized in principle in the
rules of worship.  For a god of war or agriculture or politics can not be
privately appropriated.  If the observance of the principles proper to
these institutions brings success to one, it brings success to all.  In
short, a god of nationality must be a god of all nations.



The correction of tutelary religion brings us at length to a type which
may be said to be formally enlightened.  Both components of belief, the
ethical and the cosmological, are universalized.  I shall call this type,
in its general form, _philosophical religion_, since it recognizes the
unities which systematic reflection defines.  It recognizes, on the one
hand, the summing up of life in a universal ideal, and on the other hand,
a summing up of the total environment in some scientifically formulated
generalization.  It affirms the priority of justice and good-will over
party interest, and the determination of the world without reference to
special privilege.  Religion is now the issue between the good--the
highest good, the good of all--and the undivided cosmos.

Within the limits of philosophical religion thus broadly defined there is
yet provision for almost endless variety of belief.  Religions may still
differ in tradition, symbolism, and ritual.  They may differ as moral
codes and sentiments differ, and reflect all shades of opinion as this is
determined by discovery and criticism.

But I propose to confine myself to a difference which is at once the most
broad and fundamental, and the most clearly defined in contemporary
controversy.  This difference relates to neither {242} ethics nor
cosmology exclusively, but to the religious judgment itself in which
these two are united.  How is the universe in its entirety to be
construed with reference to the good?  In both of the answers which I
propose to consider it is claimed that goodness in some sense possesses
the world.  Hence both may be called _idealisms_.  But in one of these
answers, which I shall call _metaphysical idealism_, the cosmological
motive receives the greater emphasis.  The good is construed in terms of
being; and, in order that it may be absolutely identified therewith, its
original nature must, if necessary, be compromised.  In the other, the
_moral_ motive predominates.  It is held that goodness must not lose its
meaning, even if it be necessary that its claims upon the cosmos should
be somewhat abated.

_Metaphysical idealism_ is the extreme form of the optimistic bias.  It
provides a moral individual with a sense of proprietorship in the
universe; it justifies him in the belief that the moral victory has been
won from all eternity.  Goodness is held to be the very essence and
condition of being.

Let me briefly state the inherent difficulty in this philosophy of
religion.  Being is judged to be identical with good.  But the world of
experience is not good; it must therefore be condemned as unreal.  Of
what, then, do goodness and being consist?  If an empty formalism is
{243} to be avoided, the all-good-and-all-real must be restored to the
world of experience.  But as the all-real it can not consistently be
identified with only a part of that world; and if it be identified with
the whole, its all-goodness contradicts the moral distinction within the
world of experience, between good and evil.  The theory is now confronted
with the opposite danger, that of materialism, or moral promiscuousness.
Let me illustrate this full swing of the pendulum from formalism to
materialism by briefly summarizing certain well-known types of religious

At the formalistic extreme stands the Buddhistic _pessimism_,[12]
which rests on a recognition of the inevitable taint of this world,
of the implication of evil in life.  To avoid this taint, the
all-real-and-all-good must be freed even from existence.  It can be
conceived and attained only by denial.  Nirvana is at once the all-real,
the all-good, and--in terms of the existent world--nothing.

_Other-worldliness_ is the Christian modification of the Oriental
philosophy of illusion.  Heaven is a world beyond, to be exchanged for
this.  It is not constituted by the denial of this world, as is Nirvana,
but access to it is conditioned by such denial.  It is goodness and
happiness hypostasized, and offered as compensation for martyrdom.  But
since every natural impulse and source {244} of satisfaction must be
repudiated, it remains a purely formal conception, except in so far as
the worldly imagination unlawfully prefigures it.  Rigorously construed,
it consists only in obedience, a willing of God's will, whatever that may

_Mysticism_,[13] which appears as a motive in all religions of this type,
defines the all-real-and-all-good in terms of the consummation of a
progression, certain intermediate stages of which constitute man's
present activities.  In Brahmanism, God is the perfect unity, which may
be approximated by dwelling on identities and ignoring differences; in
Platonism, God is the good-for-all, which may be approximated by dwelling
exclusively upon the utilities and fitness of things.  The absolute world
still remains beyond this world and excludes it, although a hint of its
actual nature may now be obtained.  But there at once appears a
formidable difficulty.  So long as the absolute world is wholly separated
from this world, and therefore purely formal, evil need not be imputed to
it; but at the moment when it is conceived by completing and perfecting
certain processes belonging to this world, it is committed to these
processes with all their implications, and tends to be usurped by them.
In other words, heaven, in so far as it obtains meaning, grows worldly.

In the conception which may be termed _panlogism_, {245} heaven is boldly
removed to earth.  It is identified with laws or other universals, that
lie within the scope of human intelligence and control the course of
nature.  God is now immanent rather than transcendent; he has obtained a
certain definable content.  But the difficulty which has already appeared
in mysticism now grows more formidable.  How can it be said that a being
that coincides with the known laws of nature works only good?  Among the
Stoics the attempt was made to conceive all necessities as somehow
"beneficial," as somehow good in the commonly accepted sense of the
term.[14]  But even the Stoics found themselves compelled to abandon the
common conception of goodness.  And in Spinoza the motive of panlogism is
clear and uncompromising.[15]  God as the immanent order of the world is
good only in that he is necessary--good only in so far as he satisfies
the logical interest and enables the mind to understand.  In panlogism,
then, we find metaphysical idealism already compelled in behalf of its
cardinal principle to deny the moral consciousness.  But this is not all.
For even were it to be admitted that mere system and order constitute the
good, wholly without reference to their bearing on the concerns of life,
the fact remains that even such a good does not fairly represent the
character of this world.  For experience conveys not only law, {246} but
also irrelevance and chaos; not only harmony but also discord.

To meet this last difficulty, and at the same time better to provide for
the complexity of human interests, metaphysical idealism finally assumes
the _aesthetic_ form.  The absolute world, the all-real-and-all-good, is
boldly construed in terms of the historical process itself, with all its
concreteness and immediacy.  Endless detail, contrast, and even
contradiction may be brought under the form of aesthetic value.  The very
flux of experience, the very struggles and defeats of life, are not
without their picturesqueness and dramatic quality.  Upon this romantic
love of tumult and privation is founded the last of all metaphysical
idealisms.[16]  A strange sequel to the doctrine of despair with which
our brief survey began!

I can only recapitulate most briefly the characteristic limitations of an
aesthetic idealism.  First, in spite of the fact that aesthetic value may
be extraordinarily comprehensive in its content, as a value it is none
the less narrow and exclusive.  For in order that experience may have
aesthetic value, an aesthetic interest must be taken in it.  And even
were all experience to satisfy some such interest, this would in no wise
provide for the endless variety of non-aesthetic interests that are also
taken in it.  Thus, were it to be proved that life on the whole is
picturesque, this {247} would in no way affect the fact that it is also
painful, stultifying, and otherwise abounding in evil.

But, even if it were to be granted that aesthetic value embraces and
subordinates all other values, this higher value would still exist only
where such an aesthetic interest was actually fulfilled.  If it were
assumed that the totality of the world is pleasing in the sight of God,
this would in no way affect the fact that it is otherwise in the eyes of
men.  Those who furnish a spectacle which has dramatic value for an
observer do not necessarily themselves share in that value.  It is an
incontrovertible fact that the aesthetic interests of men are actually
defeated; and this whether or no some other aesthetic interest--that, for
example, of a divine onlooker--is fulfilled.

But the radical defect of this aesthetic philosophy of religion lies in
its absolute discrediting of moral distinctions.  Optimism has so far
overreached itself as to sacrifice the very meaning of goodness.  In
order that the ideal may possess the world, it has been reduced to the
world.  God is no more than a name for the unmitigated reality.  Like
Hardy's Spirit of the Years, he is the mere affirmation of things as they

      "I view, not urge; nor more than mark
  What designate your titles Good and Ill.
  'Tis not in me to feel with, or against,
  These flesh-hinged mannikins Its hand upwinds
  To click-clack off Its preadjusted laws;
  But only through my centuries to behold
  Their aspects, and their movements, and their mould." [17]

Morally, there could be no more sinister interpretation of life.  It
offers itself as a philosophy of hope, promising the lover of good that
his purpose shall be fulfilled, nay, that it is fulfilled from all
eternity.  But when the pledge is redeemed, it is found to stipulate that
the good shall mean only life as it is already possessed.  In other
words, man is promised what he wants if he will agree to want what he
has.  This is worse than a sorry jest.  It is a philosophy of moral
dissolution, discrediting every downright judgment of good and evil,
removing the grounds upon which is based every single-minded endeavor to
purify and consummate life.  John Davidson says: "Irony integrates good
and evil, the constituents of the universe.  It is that
Beyond-Good-and-Evil which somebody clamoured for." [18]  Irony is indeed
the last refuge of that uncompromising optimism that equates goodness and


But the bankruptcy of metaphysical idealism does not end the matter.
There is another idealism in which religious faith both confirms moral
endeavor and gives it the incentive of hope.  This {249} idealism
establishes itself upon an unequivocal acceptance of moral truth.  It
calls good good and evil evil, with all the finality which attaches to
the human experience of these things, leaving no room for compromise.
Its faith lies in the expectation that the world shall become good
through the elimination of evil; it manifests itself in the resolution to
hasten that time.  God is loved for the enemies he has made.  Evil is
hated without reservation as none of his doing, and man is free to
reverence the Lord his God with all his heart.

From the stand-point of _moral idealism_ the universe resumes something
of its pristine ruggedness and grandeur.  If, as James says, "the world
appears as something more epic than dramatic," the dignity of life is
enhanced and not diminished on that account.[19]  Life is not a spiritual
exercise the results of which are discounted in advance; but is actually
creative, fashioning and perfecting a good that has never been.  And the
moment evil is conceived as the necessary but diminishing complement to
partial success, the sting of it is gone.  Evil as a temporary and
accidental necessity is tolerable; but not so an evil which is absolutely
necessary, and which must be construed with some hypothetical divine

This in no way contradicts the fact that the {250} fullest life under
present conditions involves contact with evil.  Innocence must be tragic
if it is not to be weak.  Jesus without the cross would possess something
of that quality of unreality which attaches to Aristotle's high-minded
man.  But this does not prove that life involves evil; it proves only
that life will be narrow and complacent when it is out of touch with
things as they are.  Since evil is now real, he who altogether escapes it
is ignorant and idle, taking no hand in the real work to be done.  Not to
feel pain when pain abounds, not to bear some share of the burden, is
indeed cause for shame.  In that remarkable allegory, "The Man Who Was
Thursday," Chesterton has most vividly presented this truth.  In the last
confrontation, the real anarchist, the spokesman of Satan, accuses the
friends of order of being happy, of having been protected from suffering.
But the philosopher, who has hitherto been unable to understand the
despair to which he and his companions have been driven, repels this

'I see everything,' he cried, 'everything that there is.  Why does each
thing on the earth war against each other thing?  Why does each small
thing in the world have to fight against the world itself? . . .  So that
each thing that obeys law may have the glory and isolation of the
anarchist.  So that each man fighting for order may be as brave and good
a man as the dynamiter.  So that the real lie of Satan may be {251} flung
back in the face of this blasphemer, so that by tears and torture we may
earn the right to say to this man, "You lie!"  No agonies can be too
great to buy the right to say to this accuser, "We also have suffered."

'It is not true that we have never been broken.  We have been broken upon
the wheel. . . .  We have descended into hell.  We were complaining of
unforgettable miseries even at the very moment when this man entered
insolently to accuse us of happiness.  I repel the slander; we have not
been happy.'[20]

But the charge of happiness is to be repelled as a slander only because
there are real sufferers in the world to make the charge.  It is, after
all, not happiness but insensibility which is the real disgrace.  If the
suffering is real, not to see it, not to feel it, not to heal it, is
intolerable.  To say, however, that suffering is wilfully caused in order
that it may eventually contribute to an ultimate reconciliation, is to
charge God with something worse than complacency.  If life is a real
tragedy it can be endured, and to enter into it will bring the deep
satisfaction which every form of heroism affords.  But if the tragedy of
life be preconceived and wilfully perpetrated, it must be resented for
the sake of self-respect.  Even man possesses a dignity which is not
consistent with puppetry and mock heroics.

Moral idealism means to interpret life consistently with ethical,
scientific, and metaphysical truth.  It endeavors to justify the maximum
of {252} hope, without compromising or confusing any enlightened judgment
of truth.  In this it is, I think, not only consistent with the spirit of
a liberal and rational age, but also with the primary motive of religion.
There can be no religion with reservations, fearful of increasing light.
No man can do the work of religion without an open and candid mind as
well as an indomitable purpose.

I can not here elaborate the evidence upon which moral idealism is
grounded; but it might be broadly classified as ethical, cosmological,
and historical.  The ethical ground of moral idealism is the virtual
unity of life, the working therein of one eventual purpose sustained by
the good-will of all moral beings.  The cosmological proof lies in the
moral fruitfulness and plasticity of nature.  The historical proof lies
in the fact of moral progress, in the advent and steady betterment of


In conclusion I wish to revert to the topic of the generic proof of
religion.  We have defined the tests which any special religion must
meet, and unless conformably to such tests it is possible to justify some
form of idealism, it is clear that the full possibilities of religion as
a source of strength and consolation must fail to be realized.  But it
may now be affirmed that there is a moral {253} value in religion which
is independent of the cosmological considerations which prove or disprove
a special religion.  No scientific or metaphysical evidence can
controvert the fact that man is engaged in an enterprise which
comprehends all the actualities and possibilities of life, and that the
success of this enterprise is conditioned, in the end, on the compliance
of the universe.  A summing up of the situation as involving these two
factors is morally inevitable.  Some solution of the problem, assimilated
and enacted, in other words, some form of piety, is no more than the last
stage of moral growth.

The value of religious belief, in this generic moral sense, consists in
the enlargement of the circle of life.  Man knows the best and the worst;
he walks in the open, apprehending the world in its full sweep and just
proportions.  An inclusive view of the universe, whatever it may reveal,
throws into relief the lot of man.  Religion promulgates the idea of life
as a whole, and composes and proportions its activities with reference to
their ultimate end.  Religion advocates not the virtues in their
severalty, but the whole moral enterprise.  With this it affiliates all
the sundry activities of life, thus bringing both action and thought
under the form of service of the ideal.  At the same time it offers a
supreme object for the passions, which are otherwise divided against
{254} themselves, or vented upon unworthy and fantastical objects.
Through being thus economized and guided, these moving energies may be
brought to support moral endeavor and bear it with them in their current.

Piety carries with it also that sense of high resolve without which life
must be haunted with a sense of ignominy.  This is the immediate value of
the good-will: the full deliverance of one's self to the cause of
goodness.  This value is independent of attainment.  It is that _doing of
one's best_, which is the least that one can do.  Having sped one's
action with good-will, one can only leave the outcome to the confluence
and summing of like forces.  But such service is blessed both in the
eventualities and in a present harmony as well.  The good of
participation in the greatest and most worthy enterprise is proved in its
lending fruitfulness, dignity, and momentousness to action; but also in
its infusing the individual life with that ardor and tenderness which is
called the love of humanity and of God, and which is the only form of
happiness that fully measures up to the awakened moral consciousness.

Since religion emphasizes the unity of life and supplies it with meaning
and dignity, it is the function of religion to kindle moral enthusiasm in
society at large.  Religion is responsible for the {255} prestige of
morality.  As an institution, it is the appointed guardian and medium of
that supreme value which is hidden from the world; of that finality
which, in the course of human affairs, is so easily lost to view and so
infrequently proved.  It is therefore the function of the religious
leader to make men lovers, not of the parts, but of the whole of
goodness.  Embarrassed by their very plenitude of life, men require to
have the good-will that is in them aroused and put in control.  This,
then, is the work of religion: to strike home to the moral nature itself,
and to induce in men a keener and more vivid realization of their latent
preference for the higher over the lower values.  This office requires
for its fulfilment a constructive moral imagination, a power to arouse
and direct the contagious emotions, and the use of the means of
personality and ritual for the creation of a sweetening and uplifting

In culture and religion human life is brought to the elevation which is
proper to it.  They are both forms of discipline through which is
inculcated that quality of magnanimity and service which is the mark of
spiritual maturity.  But while culture is essentially contemplative,
far-seeing, sensitive, and tolerant, religion is more stirring and vital.
Both are love of perfection, but culture is admiration; religion,
concern.  {256} "Not he that saith Lord, Lord, but he that doeth the will
of his Father, shall be saved."  In religion the old note of fear is
always present.  It is a perpetual watchfulness lest the work of life be
undone, or lest a chance for the best be forfeited.




[1] Joseph Butler: _Sermon VII_, edited by Gladstone, p. 114.  _Cf._
also _Sermon X_, on Self-Deceit.

[2] Nietsche: _Beyond Good and Evil_, translated by Helen Zimmern, p.

[3] Edmund Burke: _A Vindication of Natural Society_, Preface, pp. 4,
5.  (Boston, 1806.)

[4] The classic discussion of the whole matter is to be found in
Aristotle's _Nicomachean Ethics_, Book I, Chapters I-VI, translated by
J. E. C. Welldon.  _Cf._ also Fr. Paulsen: _System of Ethics_, Book II,
Chapters I, II, translated by Frank Thilly; G. H. Palmer: _The Nature
of Goodness_, Chapters I, II; and W. James: _The Moral Philosopher and
the Moral Life_, in his _Will to Believe_.

[5] The issue is presented clearly and briefly in Paulsen: _Op. cit._,
Book II, Chapter II, and in James's _Principles of Psychology_, Vol.
II, pp. 549-559.

[6] Nietsche: _Op. cit._, p. 107.

[7] Huxley: _Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays_, pp. 81-82.  The
first two essays contained in this volume, the _Prolegomena_, and the
_Romanes Lecture_, contain a very interesting study of the relation of
morality to nature.

[8] Huxley: _Op. cit._, p. 13.

[9] G. K. Chesterton: _Napoleon of Notting Hill_, p. 291.  The whole
book is a brilliant satire, intended to show that all of the heroic
sentiments and virtues depend on war and local pride.

[10] Nietsche: _Op. cit._, pp. 59, 163, 176, 223, 235, 237, 122.

[11] Chesterton: _Heretics_, and _Orthodoxy_.

[12] Plato: _Protagoras_, p. 322 (marginal pagination), and _passim_;
translated by Jowett.



[1] Locke: _The Conduct of the Understanding_, Bohn's Library Edition,
Vol. I, p. 72; also, _passim_.

[2] Locke: _Op. cit._, p. 56.

[3] Descartes: _Discourse on Method_, translated by Veitch, pp. 13-14.
Also, _passim_.

[4] Spinoza: _The Improvement of the Understanding_, translated by
Elwes, Vol. II, p. 4.

[5] _Cf._ Plato's _Republic_, Books V-VII, _passim_.

[6] For further discussion of the meaning of duty, _cf._ Kant's
_Critical Examination of the Practical Reason_, Book I, Chapter III,
translated in Abbott's _Kant's Theory of Ethics_, p. 164; Bradley's
_Ethical Studies_, Essays II and V; and Sidgwick's _Methods of Ethics_,
Book I, Chapter III.

[7] Chesterton: _Napoleon of Notting Hill_, p. 162.

[8] G. E. Moore: _Principia Ethica_, Chapter III, Sect. 58-63.

[9] Locke: _Op. cit._, p. 29.

[10] There is an excellent account of the questions that lie on the
border between ethics and jurisprudence in S. E. Mezes's _Ethics,
Descriptive and Explanatory_, Chapter XIII.

[11] Kant: _Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals_,
translated in Abbott's _Kant's Theory of Ethics_, p. 47.

[12] H. G. Lord: _The Abuse of Abstraction in Ethics_, in _Essays
Philosophical and Psychological in Honor of William James_, pp. 376-377.

[13] John Davidson: _A Rosary_, pp. 77, 82.

[14] Maurice Maeterlinck: _The Measure of the Hours_, translated by A.
T. de Mattos, p. 151.  The essay in this volume, entitled "Our Anxious
Morality," charges rationalism with destroying the romantic and
mystical element in life.


[1] A good discussion of the several virtues will be found in Paulsen:
_Op. cit._, Book III.

[2] W. H. S. Jones: _Greek Morality_, p. 50.

[3] Jeremy Taylor: _Rules and Exercises of Holy Living_, edited by Ezra
Abbot, p. 73.

[4] Jones: _Op. cit._, p. 124.


[5] Count Baldesar Castiglione: _The Book of the Courtier_, translated
by Opdycke, p. 250.

[6] _Cf._ Hobbes: _Leviathan_, Chapters XIII, XIV, XV.  In Hobbes's
account, morality is reduced wholly to the prudential economy.

[7] H. G. Wells: First and Last Things, p. 82.

[8] Castiglione: _Op. cit._, p. 257.

[9] Burke: _Op. cit._, p. 8.

[10] Epictetus: _Discourses_, Book III, Chapter XXII, translated by
Long, Vol. II, pp. 82, 83.

[11] Taylor: _Op. cit._, p. 7.

[12] Epictetus: _Op. cit._, Book II, Chapter XXI, translated by Long,
Vol. I, p. 229.

[13] _Cf._ Hegel: _Philosophy of Right_, Third Part, Third Section,
translated by S. W. Dyde; and _Philosophy of History_, Introduction,
translated by J. Sibree.

[14] _Cf._ Plato's _Republic_, _passim_, but especially Book IV.  Plato
makes the state analogous to the individual organism, requiring baser
classes that shall permanently supply its lower functions, as well as
classes that shall supply its higher functions and so participate in
its full benefits.

[15] Aristotle: _Politics_, Book II, Chapter V, translated by Jowett,
p. 35.  _Cf._ also Chapter II.

[16] Epictetus: _Op. cit._, Book II, Chapter XV, translated by Long,
Vol. I, p. 189.

[17] Sophocles: _Antigone_, translated by G. H. Palmer, pp. 61, 62.

[18] Munro and Sellery: _Medieval Civilization_, pp. 349-350.

[19] Castiglione: _Op. cit._, p. 261.

[20] Quoted from Diog. Laert. by Jones, _Op. cit._, p. 69.  For a full
account, _cf._ Aristotle's _Nicomachean Ethics_, Books VIII and IX,
translated by Welldon, pp. 245-314.

[21] Walter Bagehot: _Physics and Politics_, No. V, in the edition of
the International Scientific Series, pp. 165-166.  _Cf._ this chapter

[22] Matthew Arnold: _Culture and Anarchy_, p. 100.

[23] Quoted by Jones: _Op. cit._, p. 128.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Arnold: _Op. cit._, pp. 25-26.  _Cf. passim_.

[26] Euripides: _Medea_, translated by Gilbert Murray, pp. 67-68.


[27] _Cf., e. g._, Aristotle, _Nicomachean Ethics_, Book X.  Also J. A.
Farrer's _Paganism and Christianity, passim_; and Paulsen, _op. cit._,
Book I, Chapters I-III.

[28] Sir Thomas Browne; _Religio Medici_, edited by J. M. Dent & Co.,
p. 97.

[29] W. James: _Pragmatism_, p. 230.

[30] Browne: _Op. cit._, pp. 118-119.

[31] _Ibid._, p. 110.

[32] Castiglione: _Op. cit._, pp. 304-305.


[1] The nearest approach to such a philosophy of history is George
Santayana's Life of Reason.  The reader will find it the best book of
reference for this and the following chapter.  _Cf._ also, Samuel
Alexander's Moral Order and Progress.

[2] Bagehot: _Op. cit._, No. VI, pp. 208-209.

[3] _Ibid._, p. 161.

[4] Nietsche: _Op. cit._, pp. 65-66.

[5] For a general ethical discussion of the function of government,
_cf._ Santayana: _Reason in Society_, Chapters III-VIII.

[6] Sophocles: _Antigone_, translated by Palmer, pp. 60, 63-64.

[7] 1 Samuel, Chapter VIII.

[8] Quoted in Taine's _Philosophy of Art in Greece_, translated by J.
Durand, p. 130.

[9] Thucydides: _Peloponnesian War_, Book II, Chapters 37-40,
translated by Jowett, pp. 117-119.

[10] Plato: _Republic_, Book IV, p. 433, translated by Jowett.

[11] Burke: Op. cit., p. 43.

[12] For a brief statement of the elements of political science in
their application to modern institutions, _cf._ E. Jenks: _A History of

[12] Arnold: _The Future of Liberalism_, in the volume, _Mixed Essays,
Irish Essays and Others_, p. 383.  _Cf._ also the admirable essay on
Democracy in the same volume.

[14] Plato: _Republic_, Book I, p. 335, translated by Jowett.

[15] Wells: _Op. cit._, pp. 130-131.



[1] A good account of the meaning of art is to be found in Santayana's
_Reason in Art_, Chapters I-III.

[2] For this whole topic of the aesthetic interest, _cf._ H. R.
Marshall's _Pleasure, Pain, and Aesthetics_.

[3] For an interpretation of painting in terms of the perceptual
process, _cf._ B. Berenson's _Florentine Painters of the Renaissance_,
pp. 1-16; and _North Italian Painters of the Renaissance_, pp. 145-157.

[4] The best account of the emotions and instincts is to be found in
James's _Principles of Psychology_, Vol. II, Chapters XXIV, XXV.

[5] Walter Pater: _The Renaissance_, p. 140.

[6] Taine: _Op. cit._, pp. 112, 114-115, and _passim_.

[7] Pater: _Op. cit._, pp. 129-130; _cf._ the chapter on _Leonardo da
Vinci_, entire.

[8] Plato: _Republic_, Book III, p. 398, translated by Jowett.  The
whole of Books III and X are interesting in this connection.

[9] In connection with the general topic of the moral criticism of art,
_cf._ Santayana's _Reason in Art_, Chapters IX-XI; also Ruskin's
_Lectures on Art_, Lectures II-IV.

[10] Aristotle: _Nicomachean Ethics_, Book X.

[11] _Cf._ the _Republic_, Book X.

[12] Arthur Benson: _Beside Still Waters_, pp. 138-139.  _Cf._ also pp.

[13] Pater: _Op. cit._, pp. 249, 250; _cf._ the Conclusion, passim.

[14] James: _Op. cit._, Vol. I, pp. 125-126.

[15] _Republic_; Book X, p. 606, translated by Jowett.

[16] _Ibid._, Book III, p. 399.

[17] Aristotle: _Politics_, Book VIII, Chapter V, translated by Jowett,
p. 252.

[18]  Taine: _The Ideal in Art_, translated by J. Durand, pp. 42 _sq._

[19] Tolstóy: _What is Art?_  X, translated by Leo Wiener, p. 227.

[20] Arnold: _Culture and Anarchy_, pp. 37, 38.  _Cf._ Chapter I,

[21] _Republic_, Book III, p. 401, translation by Jowett.



[1] This chapter is reprinted from the _Harvard Theological Review_ for
April, 1909.

[2] I have treated this matter more fully in my _Approach to
Philosophy_, Chapters III and IV.  At the close of that book the reader
will find a selected bibliography of the subject.

[3] John Henry Newman: _Apologia pro Vita Sua_, p. 239.  The whole book
is of interest in this connection.

[4] Munro and Sellery: _Mediaeval Civilization_, p. 69.

[5] _Fragments of Xenophanes_, in Burnet's _Early Greek Philosophy_, p.

[6] Lucretius: _De Rerum Natura_, Book I, lines 1021-1028, translated
by Munro.

[7] _Isaiah_ 1:15-17.

[8] For a brief account of primitive religion, _cf._ J. B. Pratt's
_Psychology of Religious Belief_.  For a fuller account, _cf._ F. B.
Jevons's _Introduction to the History of Religion_.

[9] Munro and Sellery: _Op. cit._, pp. 80, 75.

[10] A. H. Sayce: _Babylonians and Assyrians_, p. 253.

[11] A. Wiedemann: _Religion of the Ancient Egyptians_, p. 250.

[12] _Cf._ H. C. Warren's _Buddhism in Translation_.

[13] The reader will find a good exposition of mysticism in Royce's
_World and the Individual_, First Series, Lectures II, IV, V.

[14] _Cf., e. g._, _Epictetus_: Discourses, Book II, Chapter VIII.

[15] _Cf._ Spinoza's Ethics, _passim_, translated by Elwes.

[16] _Cf._ Royce's account of Romanticism and Hegel, in his _Spirit of
Modern Philosophy_, Lectures VI, VII.  This motive, together with the
motive of mysticism, appears in such writings as J. McT. E. McTaggart's
_Studies in Hegelian Cosmology_, Chapter IX; and A. E. Taylor's
_Problem of Conduct_, Chapter VIII.

[17] Thomas Hardy: _The Dynasts_, Part I, p. 5.

[18] John Davidson: _A Rosary_, p. 88.

[19] James: _Pragmatism_, p. 144.  The whole chapter is a brilliant
representation of the stand-point of moral idealism.

[20] G. K. Chesterton: _The Man Who Was Thursday_, pp. 278-279.



  Achievement, 79, 81, 97.
  Adaptation, 22.
  Aesthetic Interest, definition of, 179; varieties of, 181 _ff._,
    189; moral limitation of, 190; sell-sufficiency of, 192;
    exaggeration of, 192, 195, 198 _ff._; its pervasiveness,
    194 _ff._; vicariousness of, 197; stimulating character
    of, 201, 203 _ff._; liberality of, 209 _ff._;
    in religion, 246 _ff._
  Aimlessness, 94.
  Anarchism, 107.
  Aristotle, quoted, 100, 106, 192, 204.
  Arnold, M., quoted, 108, 109, 112, 164, 211.
  Art, moral criticism of, Ch. V;
    its liability to moral criticism, 173 ff; definition of,
    177; distinction between industrial and fine, 177 _ff._;
    emotion in, 182 _ff._; representative function of, 185 _ff._,
    203 _ff._; Greek, 185 _ff._; of Renaissance, 187;
    censorship of, 190; stimulating character of, 201 _ff._;
    truth in, 205 _ff._; universality and particularity of,
    207 _ff._; and liberality, 209 _ff._; moral function of, 212.
  Asceticism, 79, 81, 92 _ff._

  Bagehot, quoted, 106, 127, 132.
  Beauty, and goodness, 172 _ff._
  Belief, and religion, 216, 220, 228.
  Benson, A., quoted, 194.
  Bigotry, 79, 81, 101 _ff._
  Browne, Sir Thomas, quoted, 115, 117, 118.
  Buddhism, 243.
  Burke, quoted, 6, 92, 158, 214.
  Butler, J., quoted, 1.

  Castiglione, quoted, 89, 90, 119.
  Character, 97.
  Chesterton, G. K., 32; quoted, 28, 55, 250.
  Christianity, 94, 111, 114 _ff._, 140, 158, 187, 228, 239, 243.
  Civilization, 3, 6, 10, 23, 32, 124, 137, 167, 170, 215.  See
  Competition, 14, 129, 130; relation to morality, 24 _ff._
  Conscience, 34, 36.  See Duty.
  Conservatism, 144 _ff._
  Convention, 36, 38 ff.
  Cosmological, test of religion, 224, 225, 234, 237,
    240, 241, 252.
  Courage, 95.
  Culture, 211, 253.  Chap. V, _passim_.
  Cynics, the Greek, 92 _ff._, 137.

  Davidson, J., quoted, 70, 248.
  Democracy, 29, 39; modern idea of, 158 _ff._, 163 _ff._
  Descartes, quoted, 35.
  Desire, 11.  See Interest.
  Discussion, 106, 132.
  Dogmatism, 4.
  Duty, Ch. II, 40, 72; formalism and, 76.

  Egoism, theoretical, 59 _ff._; practical, 79, 81, 101.
  Emotion, and art, 182 _ff._, 201 _ff._
  Epictetus, quoted, 93, 96, 100.
  Equality, 65, 66, 158 _ff._, 163 _ff._
  Ethics, and history, 124; and religion, 224 _ff._, 233, 240,
    241, 252; independence of, 228.  See Morality.
  Euripides, quoted, 114.
  Evil, 11, 15, 84, 86; religious conception of, 243 _ff._,
    249 _ff._  See Good, Vice, Formalism, Materialism.

  Faith, 33, 71.
  Fine Art.  See Art.
  Formalism, 74 _ff._, 92; and duty, 76, 77; varieties of,
    79, 81, 92, 98, 107, 116, 209, 242.
  Freedom, 36, 107, 164.

  God, 216, 224 _ff._, 229, 232, 237, 240, 245, 249.
  Good, basal definition of, 11 _ff._, 44; definition of moral,
    15 _ff._; relativity of, 45 _ff._; relation to beautiful,
    172 _ff._, 212.
  Good-will, logic of, 67 _ff._; virtue of, 79, 81, 113 _ff._, 158.
  Government, 14; progress in, 148 _ff._; Platonic theory of,
    148; definition of, 150; ancient forms of, 152 _ff._;
    summary of modern, 160 _ff._
  Greece, morality of, 110, 114; government in, 154 _ff._; art
    of, 185 _ff._, 204; religion of, 226.

  Happiness, 18, 115, 116 _ff._
  Hardy, T., quoted, 247.
  Health, 79, 81, 88 _ff._
  Hebrews, government of, 152; religion of, 227, 239.
  Hedonism, 16.
  History, meaning of, 123 _ff._
  Hobbes, 89.
  Honesty, 88.
  Huxley, theory of morality and nature, 21 _ff._

  Idealism, metaphysical, 242 _ff._; aesthetic, 246;
    moral, 248 _ff._
  Idleness, 94.
  Imagination, 28, 69, 111.
  Imprudence, 79, 81, 85 _ff._
  Incapacity, 79, 81, 83.
  Individualism, 34 _ff._
  Injustice, 79, 81, 103.  See Justice.
  Institutions, their necessity, 3, 147.  See Government.
  Intelligence, 79, 81, 82 _ff._
  Interest, definition of, 11, 43; organization of, 13, 14, 19,
    variety of, 16, 17; the higher, 52; conflict of, 53;
    objective validity of, 54; private, 57 _ff._; the
    potential, 67, 68, 167; present and ulterior, 74 _ff._;
    economies of, 78; simple, 78, 81, 82 _ff._; reciprocity
    of, 78, 81, 87 _ff._, incorporation of, 78, 81, 95 _ff._;
    fraternity of, 78, 81, 105 _ff._; universal system
    of, 79, 81, 112 _ff._; and progress, 132; and reform, 137;
    and revolution, 139; and government, 148 _ff._; the
    aesthetic, 179; the theoretical, 180, 193; varieties of
    the aesthetic, 181 _ff._  See Aesthetic Interest.

  James, W., quoted, 116, 199, 249.
  Justice, meanings of, 63, 79, 81, 105, 158, 163;
    logic of, 63 _ff._

  Kant, quoted, 64.

  Laissez-faire, 108.
  Liberality, 156; and art, 209.
  Life, morality as the organization of, Ch. I; versus
    mechanism, 10, 22; morality one with, 19, 27; method of, 23.
  Locke, quoted, 34, 35, 62.
  Logic, of the moral appeal, Ch. II; and the imagination, 69.
  Lord, H. G., quoted, 69.
  Lucretius, quoted, 226.

  Maeterlinck, quoted, 71.
  Manners, 121.
  Materialism, 74 _ff._, 84; varieties of, 79, 81, 94, 101,
    110, 243.
  Mechanical Nature, 12; lack of value in, 9, 84; and
    progress, 130.
  Menander, quoted, 88.
  Metaphysics and religion, 242 _ff._
  Moderation, 87.
  Moore, G. E., critique of egoism, 59 _ff._
  Morality, as the organization of life, Ch. I; the dulness
    of, 1; as verified truth, 7; its universal pertinence,
    7 _ff._; essential to life, 9, 32; natural genesis of,
    9 _ff._; basal definition of, 13; and nature, 20 _ff._;
    and competition, 24 _ff._; the logic of, Ch. II; rational
    ground of, 38, 40 _ff._; material and formal aspects of,
    74 _ff._, 121; and progress, Ch. IV; and art, Ch. V; and
    aesthetic standards, 172 _ff._; and religion, Ch. VI;
    and idealism, 248 _ff._
  Mysticism, 116, 244; and art, 208.

  Nationalism, 99.
  Nature, genesis of morality in, 9 _ff._; and morality,
    20 _ff._; theories of, in religion, 224, 225, 234, 237, 240.
  Newman, J. H., quoted, 220.
  Nietsche, his conception of morality, 1, 5, 6, 20, 29 _ff._, 165.

  Optimism, 230, 242, 247.
  Other-worldliness, 115, 243.
  Overindulgence, 79, 81, 84 _ff._

  Panlogism, 244.
  Pater, quoted, 185, 188; on the aesthetic interest, 196.
  Patience, 95.
  Pessimism, 114, 243.
  Philosophy, of history, 123 _ff._; and religion, 241 _ff._
  Piety, 67, 68, 120, 223, 253, 254.
  Pity, 111, 163.
  Plato, quoted, 32; individualism in, 37; nationalism in,
    100; account of disinterested activity in, 135 _ff._;
    theory of government in, 148; on art, 190, 193, 202, 212;
    on religion, 244.
  Pleasure, its relation to morality, 16 _ff._
  Preference, 50; the quantitative principle of, 55 _ff._, 127.
  Progress, moral test of, Ch. IV, 127; definition of, 125 _ff._;
    principles of, 130 _ff._; by constructive reform, 134 _ff._;
    by revolution, 139 _ff._
  Prudence,  79, 81, logical ground of, 43 _ff._; limits of,
    49, 88, 90, 91, 94; meaning of, 87 _ff._; basal character of,
    91; in religion, 232.
  Purpose, logic of, 50 _ff._; virtue of, 95 _ff._

  Radicalism, 145 _ff._
  Rationality, 37, 42, 65; and progress, 134, 142; in
    government, 152.
  Reform, 134 _ff._
  Religion, 79, 81; and good-will, 113; mysticism in, 117; as an
    institution, 148; and progress, 170; moral justification
    of, Ch. VI; moral necessity of, 214 _ff._; definition
    of, 215 _ff._; quantitative tests of, 218 _ff._;
    psychological study of, 220; belief in, 216, 220; therapeutic
    test of, 222 _ff._; superstitious, 232 _ff._; primitive,
    233 _ff._; and ethics, 224 _ff._, 233, 240, 241, 252;
    cosmological test of, 224, 225, 234, 237, 240, 241,
    252; tutelary, 237 _ff._; Assyrian, 238; Egyptian, 238;
    Hebrew, 227, 239; philosophical, 241 _ff._; generic
    proof of, 252 _ff._  See Piety, Good-will, Worship and
  Revolution, definition of, 139; the Christian, 140; the
    French, 141.
  Rightness, 18.  See Virtue.

  Satisfaction, 11, 79, 81, 83.
  Scepticism, 4 _ff._, 36, 108.
  Sentimentalism, 98 _ff._, and art, 209.
  Society, Chap. I, _passim_, 38; prudential basis of, 89;
    character of modern, 39, 166; progress in, 126, 132;
    continuity of, 143; and the aesthetic interest, 195, 211.
  Sophocles, quoted, 102, 151.
  Sordidness, 79, 81, 94.
  Spinoza, quoted, 35.
  Stoics, religion of, 245.  See Epictetus.
  Struggle for existence, 30; its relation to morality, 21 _ff._;
    its relation to progress, 130.
  Superstition, 232 _ff._
  Survival, 24, 131.

  Tact, 88.
  Taine, quoted, 185.
  Taylor, J., quoted, 86, 94.
  Temperance, 90.
  Thrift, 68, 87.
  Thucydides, quoted, 156.
  Tolerance, 38, 105, 164.
  Tolstóy, on art, 207.
  Truth, of art, 205 _ff._; of religion, 220 _ff._
  Truthfulness, 96.  See Veracity.
  Tyranny, 36, 39, 151 _ff._

  Value, the simpler terms of, 11, 82; definition of moral,
    15; varieties of moral, 79, 81.
  Veracity, 88, 96, 105.
  Vice, varieties of, 79, 81.  See Virtue, Formalism, and
  Virtue, the order of, Ch. III; verification of, 73;
    varieties of, 73, 79; classification of, 73 _ff._; table
    of, 81.  See under particular virtues, Prudence, etc.

  War, and morality, 24 _ff._, 30; the passing of, 28, 162; and
    progress, 131.
  Wells, H. G., quoted, 89, 167.
  Worldliness, 79, 81, 110 _ff._
  Worship, 122, 232, 235, 237, 240.

  Xenophanes, quoted, 326.

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enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.